Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mercy begets eternal life!


Divine Mercy Sunday

1 May 2011

St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center at the University of Kansas

+ Beatification of John Paul II, Pope

Give thanks to the Lord for he is good, his mercy endures forever.

John Paul II gave us the 2nd Sunday of Easter to be Divine Mercy Sunday. As we remember well on this day when the church confirms his sanctity through his beatification, John Paul desired to witness to the very end of his life his confidence in God's mercy, allowing millions to keep vigil with him until his death in 2005 on the eve of this great feast of divine mercy that he gave us.

By 2030 it is projected that there will be as many agnostics in the United States as Catholics. The proclamation of the Resurrection fails to win every heart and mind today, far from it. When I hear the story of the doubting Thomas, it first occurs to me that now is the time to get defensive, and to make a vigorous apologetic for the truth of the Resurrection of Jesus, using Thomas as an example of the rampant skepticism and individualism that plagues modern man.

Yet John Paul II forever took this 2nd Sunday of Easter in a different direction. Meditating on the sacred heart of Jesus, he realized that Jesus never became defensive. He responded to doubt with greater trust in people's faith, to sin with greater mercy. Living in the modern age which can easily find more and more reasons to doubt the Resurrection, John Paul II fought back not simply with better arguments, but with a better proclamation of the Lord's mercy that goes beyond human logic and control. John Paul II knew that the truth of the Resurrection could only flourish if man is capable of meditating on a mercy that is man's origin, his constant calling, and his perfection in heaven.

Indeed, it is our poverty in meditating upon God's mercy, and in allowing God's oceans of mercy to wash over us and make us new, that makes the Easter proclamation of the truth of Jesus' Resurrection limp, and be so easily ignored. Archbishop Emeritus Keleher told his priests constantly, that no matter how much you tell people God loves them, they still don't believe it, so you can never stop telling them that God's mercy endures forever. So too, John Paul II has give us this feast of Divine Mercy, which is key to the Easter proclamation of the Church to the world.

We have to escape the poverty of calculating the minimum amount of God's mercy we need to bail us out of jail and to squeak into heaven. Thinking this way is why Catholics love Lent and are lost during Easter. We think of Lent as work and Easter as vacation, when in reality Lent is merely a warm-up for the great work of Easter, when oceans of God's mercy are unleashed through the Paschal mystery upon the world for its redemption, and you and I are personally sent out to be witnesses of a divine mercy that is redeeming the world beautifully from the inside out, beginning with our own hearts.

We are all guilty of minimizing the effects of the divine mercy. God's mercy does bail us out, to be sure, but we must know mercy to be God's deepest attribute, the best definition of who God really is, and what he wanted to reveal about himself through the gift of Jesus. St. Thomas Aquinas steers us away from superficiality by saying that 'mercy consists in bringing a thing out of non-being into being.' When we think of mercy then, we should think of big things. Not just bailout money, but the creating of everything from nothing at the beginning, and the redemption of everything right now beginning from the nothingness of the cross. We Christians rejoice that we are awash in an ocean of mercy that has revealed itself the conquerer of sin and death, and we live a life right now that is no longer measured horizontally by a clock, but vertically by the depth of God's love for us.

The Church's proclamation of the truth of the Resurrection is built on a rock-solid foundation, and it is not going away. Yet when when modern man is convinced that he can find more reasons to doubt than to have faith, John Paul II proposed not just more arguing, but reminded us that the Church must wash herself anew in the ocean of divine mercy. For in the wounds of Jesus are the best answers for those who might doubt him. A question remains to be answered by anyone who might meet Jesus Christ: who can say no to this man who responds to doubt by allowing himself to be wounded and doubted all the more?

God will always allow himself to be doubted, for in his divine mercy he has freely chosen to always trust us more and to love us more. We even hear it said that it is absurd to believe in a God who would allow anyone, but especially his own Son, to be tortured. Yet what kind of a project is it to disbelieve God only because we cannot reduce him to our own expectations and judgments? If we had recourse to a divine mercy that only met a standard agreed upon from below, how could we ever hope in a more profound life that eye has not seen, or ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned upon the mind of man, what God has in store for those who love him? Let us instead praise God who thankfully surpasses our understanding, for if we only worshipped a God whom we could reduce to our own expecations, we would be doomed to worshipping ourselves.

Let us proclaim today with our late Holy Father, on the glorious day of his beatification, that the work of divine mercy in all its fullness is an Easter mystery, and belongs forever to the Easter proclamation of our Church! May we begin to know the divine mercy, and its power to recreate the world, as John Paul II knew this divine mercy. Let us rejoice that this divine mercy redeems the hearts and minds of man today, and has given us the holiness of John Paul II to inspire us. Blessed John Paul II, pray for us who now have recourse to thee, as the newest blessed of our Church!

With Blessed John Paul II, let us give thanks to the Lord, for he is good! For his mercy endures forever! Amen. Alleluia!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

we zig, he zags

Holy Thursday Mass of the Lord's Supper
21 April 2011
St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center at the University of Kansas
Daily Readings

Whenever we zig, Jesus zags. Whenever we go away from Jesus, he goes toward us and ahead of us. If we think we have begun to plumb the depths of the Lord's humility, then we have not even begun to know our Lord, and we will have no inheritance with him.

The instant we first used our freedom for evil, when our Lord still remained far away in heaven, Jesus responded by trusting us more, not less. The no of the garden made Jesus yearn for the yes of the annunciation. Whenever we zig, he zags. Whenever we love him less, he loves us more.

The incarnation was a long way for Jesus to go, an unbelievably amazing condescension from our Lord, a move to counter our going away from him by moving toward us in our very nature. Yet Jesus' journey from heaven to Mary's womb was only the beginning. Tonight we celebrate that Jesus allows himself to be moved just the same, and be made present in time and space and matter over and over again, not only by the yes of sinless Mary, but by words spoken by sinful priests. When Jesus instituted this sacrament, and then trod the rode to Calvary, he knew precisely what he was doing. Tonight, he lets himself be moved just as surely, by the liturgy of a Church that cannot really know what she is doing. The distance from heaven to Mary's womb is bigger than the span of the entire universe. The distance from Mary's womb to the tabernacle is perhaps even farther, and the institution fo the Eucharist perhaps an even more amazing condescension from Jesus. And still, Jesus is just getting started on his journey. He still has only begun to form his mystical body, the Church.

It is in the formation of his mystical body that Jesus really zigs when we zag. Our precious Lord never stops being more willing to hand himself over to his enemies, so could it be that he is more ready to ride into the evil of my heart right now, than he was ready to enter into his passion for the first time? It is within the mystical body that Jesus at this moment perhaps goes farther than he did entering Mary's womb or assuming the silence of the tabernacle.

Who do you say that I am? 'I don't know' is my default response. Yet, instead of being disappointed in my answer, Jesus decides to trust my faith even more. He gives Thomas a sign so that the Church's faith would never completely fail, but more often Jesus hides himself. When we doubt, he trusts us more, and hides himself trying to draw out the most perfect faith from us. Blessed are those who have not seen and have believed are his words to us. When we doubt him, he yearns for our faith all the more.

When his disciples scattered, Jesus went ahead of them to Galilee. Whenever we go away from Jesus, he goes before us. The more places we find to hide, the more places he appears. So every step of our lives, whether good or evil, he can transform into a step toward him. The extension of the Eucharist around the world is the physical sign of a spiritual reality, spoken of by the psalmist: Where can I go from your love? If I climb the heavens you are there. If I go down to Hell, you are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, and fly to the sea's furthest end, still you are there.

Even if in my pride I refuse to be a part of God's life, he stands ready and small enough to enter under my roof, no matter how worthy I am to receive him. When I spit in his face, he leaves 99 people who are not spitting at him to give me 100X his mercy and attention. When I zig, he zags. He loves sinners so much, that to know ourselves as anything but sinners costs us our relationship with our Savior who loves us precisely where no one else can. For he says plainly that people who are well do not need a doctor. Sick people do.

When my schedule is busy, Jesus waits for me never tempted to look at a watch for he does not wear one. When I am in a hurry, he is more patient. When I zig, he zags. He'll take whatever smallest part of a second I might give him, no matter how pitiable the sacrifice. Just so, the holy hour of his life, suffering, death and resurrection is forever patient, always present in the mystery of His Eucharist, and is waiting to enter into the smallest second of my life, so that I too may enter into eternity in Him, with Him and through Him.

Still, after all of this, Jesus in traveling far in the Incarnation, perhaps even farther in the Eucharist, and maybe farthest of all healing the wounds within his mystical body, does not take away the possibility of my ignoring him. No, he only serves our freedom, only becomes smaller and smaller and makes it more possible for us to reject him. A bruised reed will will not break, a smoldering wick he will not quench. He only makes it more easy for us to take him for granted, especially in the sacrament of the Eucharist.

Even given how far he has traveled, and how I struggle to take a single step toward him in return, still it is more possible than ever for me to think that what I am doing at this moment is more important than what he is doing. Even knowing Mary to be the greatest, and my pattern of holiness, my project remains superior to letting it be done to me according to His word. Peter's words are really mine. Lord, you will never wash my feet. Our pride desperately hangs on, wanting to have the authority to tell Jesus he has done enough already, and to give him our permission to stop serving our faith, our hope and our love. If we are still stuck there, Jesus reminds us that we do not know who he is, and we will have no inheritance with him. Let tonight, then, be the night when I permit him to wash my feet.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

sign me up!


Easter Sunday 2011

24 April 2011

St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center at the University of Kansas

Daily Readings

Jesus Christ is Risen just as He said! Alleluia! Alleluia!

This joyful Easter proclamation goes out from the Church to the whole world today, symbolized by the Holy Father giving his Urbi et Orbi (to the Church and to the World) blessing at noon on Easter Sunday in St. Peter's square. It goes out from St. Lawrence as well, as we with incomparable joy join in the Easter proclamation that has given new hope to the world for 2000 years and counting. Jesus Christ is Risen. Jesus Christ is truly Risen. Jesus Christ is Risen just as He said! Alleluia! Alleluia!

This proclamation of our faith should be easy to make on Easter Sunday. The earth is springing to life around us, and the Church is filled with new colors, new flowers, new sounds of Alleluias ringing. Beginning with Mary Magdalene, the first witness of the Resurrection of our Lord, through the apostles, through the countless martyrs of the centuries from every corner of the world, to the millions who are joining the Church this Easter, to the newly baptized here at St. Lawrence who have professed the faith for the first time, to my own parents and godparents who perhaps passed this faith on personally to me, the truth of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ has come down to us who will renew our baptismal promises today. The truth of Easter has beautifully captured since the time of Christ the lives of men and women who yearn to become saints, to live a new and more meaningful kind of life, and has been passed down to us today at great cost. It is a gorgeous faith that brings incomparable hope and meaning to the world and to each person within it. Jesus Christ is truly Risen from the dead, just as he said. We are proud to profess this together, to the world today, in Christ Jesus our Lord!

We are richly supported in our profession of faith today, so much so that our proclamation of Jesus' Resurrection is not so much something we individually generate, but something we receive and pass on. It is a faith in which we live and move and have our being. It is a faith that today of all days surrounds us, and captures us. We should not hesitate to join in the chorus of faith. Yet this does not mean that the renewal of our baptismal promises today should be automatic, or thoughtless. We do not say I do because everyone else is doing it, or because today in this Church is the easiest time all year to proclaim with boldness that I am a Christian. Quite the opposite, today's proclamation should be the most personal and difficult and meaningful proclamation of our lives. We should only say I do if our faith in the Resurrection this year is stronger than it has ever been, only if I can say I do from the depths of my own heart. If Jesus is truly Risen, then the renewal of our baptismal promises on Easter Sunday is the most dramatic moment of the year for me personally. Far from automatic, to renew our promises is to profess that we will live out the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus in a more dramatic way in the days ahead of us. There is no other way to look at it. So although we renew our faith today not only as individuals, but with the support of hundreds right next to us, and in chorus with billions of those in the church who have gone before us and stand with us, still in the profession of faith today we must say a deeply personal 'I do.' It is not automatic, but a challenge to witness today through our baptismal promises our deep personal relationship with Jesus, whom we have come to know intimately as the way, the truth and the life.

For as St. John has taught us - this is eternal life - to know the one true God, and to know Jesus Christ whom he has sent. When we renew our baptismal promises, it is a proclamation that we personally know Jesus. Christianity is nothing if it is not intensely personal. It is the most personal of religions, for God in taking on our humanity made it possible to know him and to love him in the most intimate of ways, and through him to enter more deeply into relationship with one another. It is a faith of intense personal love, a love that is the foundation of life, so much so that the definition of eternal life is to know the love of God as revealed in Jesus Christ. If we think that eternal life pertains to who gets to live the longest, then we have missed the boat. Eternal life is the fruit of an intense personal relationship - eternal life is more vertical, having to do with dying and rising, than horizontal, pertaining to more time. Eternal life is to know Jesus Christ with all our mind, and our heart and our strength, and so our profession of faith must be the most personal of any proclamation we can make.

Sometimes the Easter proclamation of the Church limps because we rob the Resurrection of Jesus Christ of its intense immediate meaning for us. The Resurrection is not some vain hope of Christians, that by following archaic formulas and doing what God says without questioning, we might get to fly off and be an angel or spirit in some far off place at a time to be determined. No, eternal life is an ever-present and ever-deepening reality. It is an entering personally into the depths of love, a love once powerful enough to create the world and each person in it, but a love shown even more powerful on the cross, the source of the world's redemption. Eternal life, the life of the Resurrection, is nothing else than a love that is stronger than death. What is more, it is not a fantasy. It is not bonus time in a far off place for those who are lucky. It is not time at all. Eternal life is born of an intense personal love that was present to us at our baptism, is perfectly present to us now in the Holy Eucharist, and will be present to us tomorrow in the loving promises God has marked out for us.

Once again, the Resurrection is not a vain hope. For a Christian, it is a present reality. It is something we dare to profess in a world that will never completely understand it. When we turn away from sin and toward love, we grow younger. When we stop measuring life, and instead with self-forgetfulness give and receive the love brought near to us by the blood of the cross, we enter into Jesus' promise that whoever loses his life will save it. When we fulfill Jesus' commandment to love one another as He first loves us, we enter into a life not measured by time but by the depth of our relationships, a life supported by a love that death cannot destroy.

Against those who say the Resurrection of Jesus is an outdated myth, and suffering and death are sure arguments against God, those of us who renew our baptismal promises today proclaim a life that grows stronger as we follow Jesus through his suffering and death, an eternal life that we know to be true because in our conversation with Jesus, he has shown us how to die to self and to live in true freedom. We proclaim the Resurrection to be true because we are right now in the middle of a conversation of love between Jesus and His Father, and know personally the Holy Spirit that raised Jesus Christ from the dead.

The Resurrection is not a vain hope! St. Augustine was fond of saying that he who was willing to share in our death out of love for us, will surely also share with us his life! If our Easter proclamation limps, it is because we have only just begun to understand God's love for us. For Christ redefined life forever through the prism of the cross, and revealed that since God is love, love will always set the parameters for life, not life the parameters of love. The Resurrection then is not some trick, it is the fruit of God's love for us, and it is a certain truth and hope for those of us who have entered deeply into a communion of love with God and with one another.

So with great faith, in the most personal of ways, with more strength than we have mustered before, I invite you to dare to renew with me the promises of your baptism. I invite you to do so not only in the comfort of this safe and holy place, but in solidarity with the millions of Christians who stand in harm's way on Easter Sunday because of their faith in the Resurrection, and in remembrance of the Christian martyrs of the past century, the bloodiest century for Christians in history. I ask you to dare to renew your baptismal promises in the midst of a Church that is exploding in many parts of the world, but is in danger of dying out in other places because of the lack of faith. I dare you to renew your faith right here and now, in the midst of a church that needs to repent of her sins, so that the light of the Gospel may have a new chance to reach the fasting growing demographic in the United States, fallen away Catholics, and those who no longer practice any faith. In rejecting my sins today, and in promising to walk in the light, in the most personal of ways I confess that my sins have discouraged those who might meet Jesus in me, and with me and through me, those who through my witness are yearning to stand in the light of His Resurrection. Most of all, I renew my baptismal promises so that I might renew my vocation to be holy, to be everything I have promised myself I would be, and to bring Jesus' mercy to my own family by what I say and do. I promise to live Jesus Resurrection by bringing his life, his light, his redeeming love that remakes the world perfectly from the inside out, to those souls he has given me to save.

All this we dare to proclaim with unparalleled faith, hope and love, on this beautiful Easter Sunday morning. For Jesus Christ is Risen. He is truly Risen! He is Risen just as he said! Alleluia! Alleluia!

put your hours within his hour


Palm Sunday

17 April 2011

St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center at the University of Kansas

It would be better for that man if he had never been born.

Judas was not the only one who betrayed Jesus. All the disciples betrayed him. He taught them to pray, and when he needed them to pray the most, they fell asleep. They all promised to die with him, yet cowardice ruled the hour. None mounted a cross next to Jesus, and only John made it to Calvary. He taught them to build a kingdom without force, and his disciples drew a sword. He taught them to stand in the truth, and they all denied him.

All of Jesus disciples betrayed him. His blood was on them and their children. As we have gone through the season of Lent, our sloth, our indifference, our cowardice, our lying, and our greed have become known to us. His blood is upon us and our children. We crucified him. We are sinners, just like the first disciples. Yet this is not the end of the story. We have repented of these sins, so that something worse may not happen to us. It would be better for that man if he had never been born. Jesus points out the real possibility of our story ending in despair. May this never be said of us. The shedding of Jesus' blood unleashes God's mercy upon humanity. It is shed on behalf of many for the forgiveness of sins. Jesus' blood is shed for me and for the forgiveness of my sins.

This is what Judas forgot. This is what he did not hear at the last supper. That is why his life ended in despair, whereas the other disciples found a way to move forward. This is what we must not forget, that Jesus' hour of agony is for the forgiveness of sins. The other disciples eventually began again to pray. They began to tell the truth. They woke from their sleep, and found the courage to die with Jesus. They found the meaning of their lives, the opportunity to witness to a love beyond all telling, a love powerful enough to forgive sins, within the hour of Jesus suffering, death and resurrection. They found new life measured by the depth of God's love, and a new mission to build a kingdom not with money and swords, but a kingdom whose power is in its ability to hand itself over to its enemies.

Jesus' kingdom is beyond the understanding of the world, no more powerful than a pitiable man riding a donkey into the wrath of those who want to kill him. Yet this is the kingdom to which we are invited to return if we dare to go to Jerusalem with him. As an eternal kingdom, which the world is powerless to destroy, this kingdom has the power to come forward in history into our present hour. Jesus' hour has the power to help us reorganize our own story, and the haphazard circumstances of our lives, so that we can see through once again to the end. This is the time, Holy Week, where we learn with special attention how we are invited to live, to suffer, to die and to rise with Jesus Christ our Lord. May we see in our ending not the despair of Judas, but the new life won for the apostles by the paschal mystery of Jesus, and with our sins forgiven by the shedding of his blood, let us go with Jesus to Jerusalem.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

he remained for two days in the place where he was


5th Sunday of Lent A

St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center at the University of Kansas

10 April 2011

So when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he remained for two days in the place where he was.

Jesus is not in a hurry, obviously. Lazarus is dying by the second, and he waits two days. Jesus would make a horrible first responder. As a 911 operator, he would be fired. And this is precisely the point.

In the raising of Lazarus, his penultimate sign before heading to Calvary, Jesus shows that his ultimate mission is not to be a superhero who rushes to prevent death. No the mission is markedly different; Jesus comes to conquer death, and to rob death of its power to make us panic. His ultimate mission is to show that love is stronger than death. Jesus waits for two days because in the raising of his friend, Jesus intends to show more love than he has shown in any other sign. In a most extraordinary moment, before Jesus raises Lazarus, he weeps for him. This is something, Jesus' weeping, that we would not see, if Jesus had arrived in the nick of time to save Lazarus, as he had saved many others. Jesus' weeping is critical. It shows that in this penultimate sign, we are seeing something more than what we have yet seen. We are seeing more than Jesus' power to manipulate the laws of the universe, doing favors for those who believe in Him. In this sign, we get a unique look at the love Jesus has for Lazarus, a love that weeps for a friend, and a love that is stronger than death.

When Martha and Mary talk about the Resurrection on the last day, Jesus corrects them and points them to a Resurrection that is much closer, a resurrection happening in the here and now. It is a resurrection measured not horizontally by the gift of more existence at the end of time, it is a resurrection measured vertically right now by the intensity of love that is present. Jesus does not panic when his friend Lazarus is slipping away, because for Jesus, love sets the parameters for life, not life the parameters of love. Jesus lets Lazarus die lest we never learn that love is stronger than death. Jesus loves Lazarus back into life, but the new life that is created is more than than Lazarus emerging from the tomb, it is the increased intensity of relationship with Jesus. The resurrection is more than bonus time. I am the Resurrection and the life, says the Lord. In saying this, Jesus reveals himself as more than a magician who can reverse death, he reveals himself as the one who is always alive because he always loves. Jesus reminds us what life is really all about, that we are only existing, not living, if we are not loving. Jesus is fully alive. He is the resurrection and the life because he always loves. His mission is to reveal that God who weeps over death, but allows it as the pathway to new life, is the one who is the source of life because he always loves us first, and loves us best, and loves us always.

This love that first created the world out of nothing by speaking a word, recreates the world by saying to us who are like Lazarus - Arise -, and makes the resurrection not a vain wish but a certain reality by making his resurrected body perfectly present to us right now in the word of the Eucharist. The raising of Lazarus is the penultimate sign of the love that is stronger than death, the love that makes all life possible. The ultimate and everlasting sign awaits us next week on Palm Sunday at Calvary, when in order to reveal completely the love that conquers death, Jesus will give up his own life, and himself lay three days in the tomb.

For Jesus' ultimate mission is not to hit the panic button, not to respond to 911 calls, not to be a superhero who merely prevents death whenever he can. No, his ultimate mission is to allow death as the pathway to new life, to enter into death himself, to conquer death from the inside out, and to do everything he can possibly do to help us to believe in the love that is stronger than death.

So when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he remained for two days in the place where he was.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

he opened my eyes


4th Sunday of Lent A

St. Lawrence Catholic Campus Center at the University of Kansas

3 April 2011


"This is what is so amazing. That you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes."

These words, said out of frustration by the man born blind to those who would not leave him alone, are words that should be exciting for you and me to proclaim to the world. "This is what is so amazing. That you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes." If we are not proclaiming this, we have relativized a powerful Gospel, and we are no longer living in the light of our baptism. Jesus is not just one of many lights, he is THE light of the world. We would not follow him if he was anything less, and so we should not be ashamed to tell the world that he has opened my eyes.

On Easter Sunday morning, we will proclaim to the world as Christians once again that the day of our baptism was the most important and dramatic day of our lives. We will proclaim to the world that Easter Sunday is the day that changed the world and gave the world its light, more than any other day. It was a day, it is a day, that we began passing over from darkness to light, from death to life. The Transfiguration, the woman at the well, the man born blind, the raising of Lazarus - these Lenten stories are stirring up the reality of our baptism, when we became children of God, when we received living water that quenches every thirst, when we gained the ability to see with God, when we began to die to ourselves with Christ and to live an entirely different kind of life. The catechumens of the Church are going through scrutinies to prepare for their baptism at the Easter vigil; but those of us already baptized, should be this Lent trying to match their preparation in mind and body and heart to celebrate the highest point of our year as Christians - the renewal of our baptismal promises on Easter Sunday.

In the story of the man born blind, Jesus shows himself to be the one through whom all things are made. The Genesis story of creation is everywhere in this Gospel. Jesus proclaims himself to be the light of the world, reminding us that light was the first thing that God made. He rubs the same clay from which man was originally made onto the eyes of the blind man, and tells him to wash in the water of creation, and so shows his power as the one through whom all things are made, to heal the world and redeem it and remake it from the inside out. The man born blind knows this power, and says to the world what we should be saying to it - this is what is so amazing, that you do not know where he is from, yet he opened my eyes. He remakes the world, which shows he is from the one who has the power to make it.

How are we proclaiming to the world that Jesus has opened our eyes? Not by assuming that we are better than anyone else, but in admitting that our minds and hearts have been darkened, but in being committed to allowing the one who first made light to be our light. At our baptism, our parents and godparents accepted the Easter candle and the ensuing hope that we would walk always as a child of the light. To be a Christian, then, is not to be perfect by our own power, but to allow the light of Christ to shatter our secrecy and darkness, and to try to walk each day more transparently, more generously, more freely, in the light.

The light of Christ not only exposes our sin as Christians, it guides us to the discovery of truth. Jesus to those who were paying attention, made outrageous claims about himself. He says not I am a way, a truth, a life, but that I am the way, the truth and the life. In saying he is the light of the world, Jesus proposes himself as the answer to every big question that man can think of - why is there something rather than nothing? what is real? what is good, and true and beautiful and eternal? Yet these are not the only questions Jesus proposes to shed light on. In Gaudium et Spes chapter 22 it says:

The truth is that only in the mystery of the Incarnate Word does the mystery of man take on light. Christ, the final Adam, by the revelation of the mystery of the Father and his love, fully reveals man to man, and makes his supreme calling clear. It is not surprising, then, that in Him all the aforementioned truths find their root and attain their crown.

Jesus in becoming man brought the wisdom that first made the world to bear on the mystery of man. He tells the man born blind that he is the son of man, and the answer to not only the mysteries of the universe, but the most personal of questions: who am I? who loves me and who should I love? what should I do to be happy? Jesus proposes himself to be the light, and the answer to these questions pertaining to the mystery of all things.

As we approach Easter, let us dare to join the catechumens of the Church in proclaiming anew to the world how much it means for us to have been enlightened by Christ, that by his entering into relationship with us we have the joy of seeing things newly and clearly, with him and in him and through him, who is light from light. In a world that refuses to see reality with the help of the one who first made light, let us proclaim with the man born blind: this is what is so amazing, that you do not know where he is from, and yet he opened my eyes.