THE WALK FROM DARKNESS INTO LIGHT. HOMILY FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME OF THE YEAR (A) Rev. Fr. Boniface Nkem Anusiem Ph.D.

darkness-into-light

Once upon a time, a cave hears a voice calling it to come out from its permanent habitation of darkness in the underground to see LIGHT. The call was coming from the sun! The cave never heard about anything called light and asked what it is all about.  The sun encouraged it to come and see.

One day, the cave made up its mind to leave its underground habitation of darkness, and upon coming out, it was all bright and radiant. From up there, the sun said, “that is the light I am talking about.” In appreciation, the cave invited the sun to come to the underground and see darkness. The sun was curious and asked what darkness means. The cave only said: “come and see.” Immediately the sun followed the cave into the underground, and  there it asked the cave “where is the darkness?” The cave could not understand the whereabouts of darkness until the sun left and darkness returned.

Light is the maternal home of all created reality. At the inception of His work of creation (Gen.1:3), God brought in light before He continued the work of creation. Light has a great affinity with life; in fact, both human and animal lives are impossible without natural light. The principal duty of light is to dispel or render darkness useless; we can connect with this from the opening story of the cave and the sun.

The First Reading (Isaiah 8:23-9:3) tells us that: “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwell in the land of gloom a light has shone.” The rest of the narratives tells us about the institution of joy, removal of the yoke and the suppressive hands of the taskmaster.

It will be important to establish immediately that the darkness and light in the narrative are not physical. People live in darkness when they disconnect from God. People live in darkness when they prefer to obey the devil and the world to listening to God. Spiritually, darkness is the region of sin and disobedience.

The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ marks the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah as the Gospel of Matthew today tells us (4:12-23). Our Lord goes further to identify himself as the light of the world and whoever follows him will not walk in darkness (John 8:12). The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ is for our redemption as well as for our deliverance from darkness into light. St. Peter mentions that we are a chosen race, a holy nation, a people set apart by God who delivered us from the dominion of darkness and transferred us into His marvelous light (1 Pet.2:9).

In the Second Reading today (1 Cor.1:10-13,17) the Apostle Paul addresses the issue of disunity among the believers in the early Church. The problem of disunity at the time was relevance struggle that gave rise to three sections under three leadership personalities: Peter, Paul, and Apollos.  Paul’s letter has one intention; to demonstrate that those who uphold sectionalism and disunity, are living in darkness.

Unity is a patrimony of light. Even physical science tells us that light is an integration of three perfectly aligned colors (red, green, and blue). Our Lord Jesus calls us the light of the world (Matt. 5:14), and in his priestly prayer, he earnestly asked God to make us one as he is one with the Father (John 17: 1). In the darkness, things fall apart, but light upholds and restores unity.

The Gospel Reading today did not only reinforce the prophecy of Isaiah in the First Reading, but it also went further to show the valuable power of light in in the call to repentance. Repentance is simply a transformation from darkness into light or more aptly a restitution of light after an episode of darkness. It is important to note that our Lord began his ministry, after John’s arrest by preaching repentance. He seems to have continued from where John the Baptist stopped. We urgently need the light of repentance in our day and age.

The Gospel goes further to reinforce St. Paul’s teaching on unity in the Second Reading. We learn that our Lord called two sets of brothers (Simon /Andrew and James / John) to join him in his ministry. These sets of brothers share one common element, and that is unity. If they were not united, our Lord might not have found them together in the same profession. Their demonstrable unity could have earned them admittance into the inner caucus the Apostolic college. Light ultimately leads to unity.

A Guru asked his students the following question: “at what point would you say there is light at dawn?” One of the students says when one could tell a goat from a sheep. “Wrong!” He replies. Another says when you could tell a man from a woman. “Wrong!” He replies. Another says it is when the sun comes and the Guru says no! After all the failed attempts, the Guru says it is when you look into the faces of people around you and could see not a man or a woman but a brother or a sister.

We need an inner light to see beyond the faces around us to discover Jesus Christ living inside those faces. We need light to dispel the darkness of hatred to see the light of love. We need light to break down the walls of segregation to find the spirit of brotherhood and fellow-feeling. We need this illuminative transformation to leave the things of the past and embrace the future realities God has planned for us (Isaiah 43:18-19). We need the light of Jesus Christ to discover that our actual ancestry is not in our bloodline but our faith-line. The light of Jesus Christ is the key to our salvation (Psalm 27:1).

May the message of light we hear today challenge us to discard the works of darkness and to put on the armor of light (Romans 13:12). May your paths be filled with God’s eternal light. Remain illumined.

Fr. Bonnie.

 

 

 

 

3 Comments on “THE WALK FROM DARKNESS INTO LIGHT. HOMILY FOR THE THIRD SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME OF THE YEAR (A) Rev. Fr. Boniface Nkem Anusiem Ph.D.

  1. Well explained homily! Fr Bonnie may the Almighty God continue to equip you with the excellent knowledge, wisdom and understanding, along with his grace to feed God’s children with his words.
    Jesus Christ is the Light of the World!!
    Thank you For. Bonnie.
    Rose

    .

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