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I grew up during the time of the great disaster movies: Poseidon Adventure, The Towering Inferno, and Earthquake. Why is it that we are attracted to disasters and death? I guess it is true that bad news sells. Jesus says it this way in today’s Gospel: “(P)eople preferred darkness to light.”
We can see this in the fickleness of the crowd when Jesus entered into Jerusalem right before his passion. At first they were cheering his arrival, but mostly the same people came to his crucifixion. We just cannot shake our attraction to the dark side of life. Somehow, we cannot turn our eyes away from a train wreck.
Yet, Jesus shows us a new way. He gives us a way out and a way up. St. John the Evangelist likened Jesus to the light at the very beginning of his Gospel, writing, “The light (Jesus) shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.”
As much as we are attracted to the darker things of this world (war, gossip, revenge, division, prejudicial attitudes, etc.) we find in our soul a deep longing for something better. We long for the light at the end of the tunnel. And when we make our conversion to that light, which means that we change the direction of our thinking, we turn away from darkness and begin to follow the path to God. We begin to pick up our cross and follow Jesus.
This is the way of faith. St. John said, “But whoever lives the truth comes to the light.” And what is the truth that we must live — it is the basic truth of our Catholic heritage: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” If we do not want to perish, then we must have faith. We must believe in God’s love for us.
Today is known as Laetare Sunday, a Sunday of joy in the midst of a Lenten desert. To know that God loves this world, loves us . . . loves you . . . enough to give his only Son for us, is what gives new life to us and gives us hope. To know Jesus is what gives us the divine energy of grace to walk away from death and darkness. And that is why a Christian of faith can smile and rejoice. God has saved us not because of our goodness, but because of his goodness. He has shone a light into our world that we can choose to follow to our new home. That light is Jesus. Now we must resolve to prefer him to the human made disasters that so often surround us. We must prefer light to darkness.
Have a blessed week everyone.