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THE LIGHT SHINES IN THE DARKNESS
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Saturday, Seventh day in the Octave of Christmas, December 31, 2011
1 John 2:18-21, Ps. 95, John 1:1-18


"No one has ever seen God; the only Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, he has made him known" (John 1:18).


Man has always wanted to know God and unite himself to him, but "no one has ever seen God" (John 1:18). At last God himself revealed himself to us by sending us his only Son, who lived with him from all eternity. There was never a time when God did not have a Son. But in the fullness of time he revealed him to us when he was born as a man on earth. He came from the regions of light and "dwells in unapproachable light" (1 Tim. 6:16), but he came to the earth for our illumination. Those who believe in him are illuminated by him who is the light of life that "enlightens every man" (John 1:9). Even though he is the light that "enlightens every man," he now came personally-in person-to the earth to give eternal life, heavenly peace, and salvation to all who believe in him. He came to forgive our sins and renew us, making us new, a new creation, new men, in him. In his coming he fulfilled the desires of all mankind to see God, to know him personally, and to be united with him in love and heavenly peace.


He cleanses our conscience and gives us joy of spirit in the depths of our heart. We can live through him (1 John 4:9) and draw divine life from his fullness (John 1:16). We can be born again as children of God through the one Son of God. "But to all who receive him, who believe in his name, he gave power to become children of God" (John 1:12).


In our day the Church wants to begin a new evangelization. This means presenting anew the message of salvation in Jesus Christ and his benefits in order to attract those who have forgotten God in their life. The message which we should preach and which changes the life of those who hear it is that God "did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all" (Rom. 8:32). He "gave him up for us all" to bear in his body our sins, which depress us, and suffer their punishment instead of us, to free us from the darkness of sin and depression so that we might walk henceforth in the light of Christ. In believing in him we rise with him from spiritual death to live in his light. If we obey him, we will remain in his light. "If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love" (John 15:10). If again we fall into an imperfection that robs us of our peace, we can always take refuge again in Christ in faith and be forgiven anew through the merits of his death on the cross, and so once again walk in the light of his resurrection.


Christ came to divinize us. Therefore he put his divinity into our humanity in the person of Jesus Christ to illuminate our humanity from within. When we believe in him, this same light of his divinity enters into our humanity and illuminates and divinizes it. This is the new light that came into the world in Jesus Christ. Jesus came and lived in Galilee "that what was spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled ... Galilee of the Gentiles-the people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, and for those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has dawned" (Matt. 4:14-16).


The whole world rejoices in Jesus Christ. Nature itself reflects our joy in his salvation. Therefore "let the heavens be glad, and let the earth rejoice; let the sea roar, and all that fills it; let the field exult, and everything in it! Then shall all the trees of the wood sing for joy before the Lord, for he comes" (Ps. 95:11-13 Responsorial Psalm).

 

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