Jesus The Light of the WorldThere is nothing so discouraging as being told constantly to "try harder." Our driving instructor tells us to "try harder" and we find ourselves driving into the lamp-post instead; we "try-harder" to be patient with someone whom we find difficult and end up saying the worst possible things. Being told to "try-harder" generally ties us up in knots as we wrestle with our weaknesses and anxieties.
One of the consoling things about Jesus is that He never said that, in our lives, we needed more effort. However, He did tell us that, in our lives, we needed more light. That is why He invites us to follow Him in His path to happiness. For Jesus' vision of that path is clear and unclouded. In following Him, we see life in new light and this, more than anything, will change our behavior and the way we act.
What are the principle ways in which our ways of thinking and acting are changed in the light of the teaching of Jesus Christ?
"I am the light of the world; anyone who follows me will not be walking in the dark but will have the light of life." (St. John 8:12).In the light of the words of Jesus, every action of ours takes on new meaning. Each action contributes to the building up of the kingdom of God in this world and moves us towards God, who lives in eternal light. And so we can look forward to the day when, at last, we see God face to face and enjoy true happiness forever.
At the beginning of his Gospel, John refers to the "darkness" of this world. (St. John 1:4). Jesus Himself was often to refer to it and, at the hour of His death, we are told that "darkness came over the whole land until the ninth hour" when Jesus cried out in a loud voice saying, "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit." (St. Luke 23:44).
Jesus certainly did not escape the sin and suffering of this wounded world. He was crucified by it. Yet in His life and at the moment of His death, He shed light on the way to a solution. In the giving up of His Spirit which is released for every person to share, He invites us into a new relationship with His Father, He helps us to recognize the dignity of every person and He gives us new purpose. This new vision proclaimed by Jesus Christ is infinitely more effective than any attempts on our part to "try-harder" in the reconstruction of this world and the building up of the kingdom of God.
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