The Light of Jesus

John 8:12-20
Dn 13:1-9,15-17,19-30,33-62 / Ps 23

I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.
(John 8:12)

May the light of God’s Word radiate
In acts of mercy and compassion,
So that others may appreciate
Our witnessing of God’s salvation.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, He said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” The Pharisees challenged him, “Here you are, appearing as your own witness; your testimony is not valid.” Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid, for I know where I came from and where I am going. But you have no idea where I come from or where I am going. You judge by human standards; I pass judgment on no one. But if I do judge, my decisions are right, because I am not alone. I stand with the Father, who sent me. In your own Law it is written that the testimony of two men is valid. I am one who testifies for myself; my other witness is the Father, who sent me.” Then they asked him, “Where is your father?” “You do not know me or my Father,” Jesus replied. “If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” He spoke these words while teaching in the temple area near the place where the offerings were put. Yet no one seized him, because his time had not yet come. (John 8: 12-20)

Reflection

The Jews had always associated the word light with God. A popular psalm of King David goes, ‘The Lord is my light and my salvation, whom should I fear? (Psa 27:1). The prophet Isaiah wrote, ‘The Lord shall be your light forever, your God shall be your glory’ (Isa 60:19). In fact, every Jew was familiar with the salvation history of Israel in the Book of Exodus when their God, Yahweh led them in the wilderness as a pillar of cloud in the day and as fire at night. This was probably the reason why St. John began his gospel account in a different light (pardon the pun) from that of the synoptic gospels. From the very beginning, he wanted to reveal to the Jews of his time and the Christian world that Jesus was truly God incarnate, leading mankind from the darkness of sin. His gospel starts with the Prologue: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… What came to be through Him was life, and this life was the light of mankind; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it” (Jn.1:1,3-5).

Yes, though we walk through a dark valley, we fear no evil (Psa 23), because Jesus is with us, our sunlight Who gives us life. He leads us from the darkness, and His fire purifies us of our inequities and sins. He can be the blinding light that leads to our transformation (Acts 9:3), but He can also be the beacon that guides us in the storms of tribulations. And now that we are enlightened, Jesus wants us to shine His light of love and the Gospel to others. No other witness is necessary when we testify to the goodness of the Lord. As He told those who would follow Him, (and as He tells us today): “You are the light of the world”… “your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Mt.5:14,16). His light in our life is enough testimony that no one but God alone can judge.

During this season of Lent, let us strive to pass on the torch of our faith to others, so that we may “…announce the praises of Him who called (us) out of darkness into His wonderful light” (1Pet.2:9). Let His light of forgiveness also shine on those who have offended us in the past, so that they too may be freed from the darkness of sin. In the light of God’s love, it is far better to be merciful than to judge others for the wrongs that they have done to us.

Lord of Light, You have called us out of the darkness of sin, and shown us the glory of the Father’s kingdom. Shine, Lord Jesus, shine Your light in every corner of our life, so that we may never lose sight of the hope that You promise. Amen.

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