At the Great Vigil of Easter, the Paschal candle will lead us with our candles in procession into the dark nave. The pews, altar, pulpit, and font are there in the darkness but we cannot see them until they are illuminated by the lights we bear. The darkness must surrender to the Light.
In an encounter with a man who was blind from birth (John 9:1-41), Jesus’ disciples saw someone whose blindness they assumed was punishment either for his sins or the sins of his parents. Jesus enlightened them by saying they were wrong on both counts. When Jesus healed the man they understood.
The blind man was accustomed to a world of darkness. When Jesus healed him, he could see for the first time. There was also an inner illumination; He understood that Jesus was the Messiah.
Other people didn’t believe it was the same person but someone who looked like him. Their point of view and frame of reference obscured their vision.
The criteria of established religion prevented the Pharisees from seeing and believing what was before their eyes. They suffered spiritual blindness. They were supposed to be enlightened, but this incident revealed them as “the blind leading the blind.” The man born blind had more vision than the Pharisees.
I remember watching The Christophers television broadcast as a child and a line from their theme song, recorded by Perry Como in 1952, "If everyone lit just one little candle, what a bright world this would be". The mission of The Christophers is to encourage people to use their God-given talents to make a positive difference in the world.
When our lives are illumined by the Light of Christ, we become lights. The Light of Christ shining in us disperses the darkness – as a parent saying bedtime prayers with a child, as a host providing Room in the Inn for a person with no home, as an ethical business person, as a friend giving encouragement.
In the words of St. Paul to the Ephesians, “Once you were darkness, but now in the Lord you are light. Live as children of light-- for the fruit of the light is found in all that is good and right and true” (Ephesians 5:8-9).