May 15, 2019
by Tom Shanahan, S.J.
Creighton University's Athletic Department
click here for photo and information about the writer

Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Easter
Lectionary: 281

Acts 12:24--13:5A
Psalms 67:2-3, 5, 6 and 8
John 12:44-50

Daily Easter Prayer

Celebrating Easter Home

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

An Easter Blessing

Easter Joy in Everyday Life

A key image for the season of Easter is Light.  Easter reminds us of the light of Christ and how we are to receive that light and be invited to bring that light to others, especially the poor and needy.  Light is emphasized in the rite of baptism.  Near the end of the baptismal service, a candle is given to the god-parents who receive it as a mission to the child as she begins her life now a member of the community of faith-in-Jesus.  The child literally becomes light to the world. 

She enters a world filled with the polar opposite of light: darkness.  The world needs the light that is now added to the body of Christ through baptism.  We all know and experience deeply the ill effects of darkness confronting the light and reflecting on the “Prince of Darkness” seeking to blot out the light given to us more deeply in our search to discover God’s presence to us.

Easter’s light dramatically portrayed in the Holy Saturday liturgy, is given to be shared with others; it is not ours to hoard or hold on to making us somehow better than others.  No, that light is given at baptism to remind us all our call to BE light to our world.   

The reading from St. John in today’s liturgy typically plays on a main key to his gospel writing, the interaction between light and darkness.  “I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness.”  Many other places in John’s gospel reflect his emphasis on light/darkness.  Nicodemus seeks out Jesus in the dark of night; Mary Magdalene comes to the tomb at night; and Peter denies that he knows Jesus in the darkness of night warming himself by the fire outside the place for Jesus’ trial. 

What does this image of the interplay between light and darkness say to us today?  It is both a reminder and a challenge.  Baptism provides an entrance into Christ himself.  We come into the world with marvelous talents and graces.  Baptism confirms that as faithful parents bring their daughters/sons to the church for the saving waters of Christ ritually poured on their children’s heads.   

The poured water is a simple sign of washing, cleansing and depicting the deeper reality of the child’s entrance into Christ’s life, death and resurrection. That entrance into Jesus, contains a wonderful challenge and promise that Jesus will always be with them (us).  He is THE light that illuminates us as we struggle against the beleaguering forces of darkness and evil we are accustomed to encounter. 

Lord, we thank and bless you for the light that you are for us.  Be with us as we encounter the darkness of evil daily.  Show us your protecting light within the trials of our days.  You are our strength in the darkness we uncover. 

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