By Sister Catherine Cleary, OSB
If watch and prepare were the buzz words for the 1st and 2nd Sundays of Advent, I suggest that light is a key word to praying the Gospel for the 3rd Sunday of Advent.
When the bells call us to Vespers at 4:50, we enter our chapel and are met with a glorious light show. The sun streaming through the west windows catches the dust motes in a dance of red, orange pink and violet colors which no artist could reproduce.
God’s presence in the sunset reminds us to be light to one another and to the world.
God’s presence in the Word does, too. This Sunday’s Gospel reminds us that John came to testify to the light, “he was not the light but was to testify to the light.” (John 1:8)
The light that came and continues to come, signifies and stands for the divine, the incomprehensible sparking light (diamond-like, says Thomas Merton), which resides in all of us!
Jesus, who is Divine, God, came to earth not just to appear on earth, not just to do good on earth, but also and perhaps more importantly to share his divinity, his Being with us. Yes, by the Incarnation we share in the divinity of God. We call it sanctifying grace, sharing divine life and light of God, all received in Baptism.
Jesus Christ did not just come to tell us how to build community, feed the hungry, visit the sick, comfort the mourning. He commanded us to do that, but he also came that we might have an incredible share in divinity, that we might have some of God’s divine life!
God’s presence is within us. Luke says, “In Him we live and move and have our being.”(Acts 17: 28) And Paul says , “I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20)
Further, God’s presence is not just in humankind but in all of creation, all of nature, in every atom, proton and neutron.
So now comes the hard part: So what if God’s divinity is in us?
First off, it means we are called to let the light of Christ shine through our every action, conversation, gesture and demeanor. We are called to wear the face of goodness and kindness and graciousness.
Caryll Houselander, writing in a bomb shelter during a World War I air raid said, “We can be like a flute, hollowed out so the pure tones can be heard.”
Hollowed out, emptied out, so the light of Christ will shine through us.
Sit in a flood of sunlight. Let that light be God’s grace, reminding you of a Light that will overcome all darkness, a Love that is the transforming presence of God.
What in your life needs to be hollowed out, so God’s light can shine through?
Who among your family, friends and acquaintances needs light to shine on their darkened world?