We enter into the fourth week of Lent; we are called upon to renew ourselves and experience the loving invitation of our Lord. In conversation with Nicodemus, Gospel of John chapter 3, Jesus speaks of, “born again”. The Jewish leader explains how it is impossible for a person to enter into a mother’s womb and be born again! Replying to his statement, Jesus says, “how is it impossible for a person to enter into the Kingdom of God, unless and until you are born again Spirit and Water.” We are children of the light baptized into the glory that is Christ. We are initiated into the life of Christ who is the light of the world. Once baptized in Christ, we become his new creation, the members of God’s own family. God also sends us to carry his divine love into the world and give the message of the newness of life and light.
Jesus continued with a story as a parable of himself which we see in the book of Numbers 21:7-9. “Just as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, so must the Son of Man be lifted up.” He told Nicodemus that for the salvation of the world he himself would be “lifted up.”
Once we are born again in Spirit and Water, even though the impossibility of entering in the Kingdom of God is removed, bodily sins are keeping us away from the “Born again” assurance. Jesus speaks of how we can come out of the darkness of sin by deeds of Light. The possibility and opportunity to hate the darkness and embrace and expose to the light.
During this time of Lent, let us review our hearts to determine where we stand. Are we walking in the Light of God or are we walking in the darkness? Our eternal life and salvation depend entirely on our living faith that calls us to look up to Jesus who was “Lifted up” on the Holy Cross.
“Be enlightened, be enlightened, we cry to you, as the holy prophet Isaiah trumpeted, for the light has come to you and the glory of the Lord has risen over you.” It is that which enlightens every man coming into the world. It is the everlasting light, the timeless light revealed in time, the light manifested in the flesh although hidden by nature, the light that shone round the shepherds and guided the Magi. It is the light that was in the world from the beginning, through which the world was made, yet the world did not know it. It is that light which came to its own, and its own people did not receive it.
In my previous reflection, I spoke about how we are fashioned into His image, similarly, when Jesus said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12), he also said, “You are the Light of the World.” (Mathew 5:14) equalizing the same image of Him to us. As he was lifted up, Jesus continued saying, “A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor do men light a lamp and put it under a basket.” The light he means is an intelligible light, far superior to the rays of the sun we see.
Regardless of cast and creed, age and gender, all of us like to shine, all of us want to be on the hilltop, the highest of our dreams, desires and work. To achieve this, we are to come out of darkness using God given power the Prayer, is the light of the spirit. It is a partnership and union with God, when used we will overcome darkness and shine on Light. As the eyes of the body are enlightened when they see light, so our spirit, when it is intent on God, is illumined by his infinite light. Prayer is the light of the spirit, true knowledge of God, mediating between God and man strengthening us to shine.
“Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.” (Psalm 119: 105).