An Encounter With Christ

There is a whole lot of “light” in today’s readings.  Christ is described as the light of the World.  When we think of the Resurrection we think of the light coming out of the tomb.  This is a great image as light is something we are instantly drawn towards.  Without light we cannot live.  It gives us sight and heat, it makes the path clearer.  If I drive at night without light it’s going to be a very bumpy ride.  When we shine the light on something we see what it really is.  We need light.  In countries in Northern Europe, where they see little light in the winter months, they have to try and create light.  Lack of light is a bad thing.  It affects our mood and psychological wellbeing.  In a dark room we are drawn towards a small candle light.  Even a small quantity of light is more powerful than darkness.  It’s interesting to note that conversely, if a room is full of light and a part becomes dark, it does not draw us at all.  Darkness is not anything in itself but an absence of light, in the same way that evil is nothing but an absence of the good.

I remember once having a profound experience of the light of Christ.  We encounter Christ in many ways.  For instance we can have a wonderful sense of the divine through His creation, as in a beautiful sunset, or the migration of millions of birds, or some breath-taking scenery.  Our most profound experiences of Christ however come through each other, and this is what happened to me.  I was in a supermarket one day getting a sandwich, and I saw a big line of people.  My heart sank.  My initial reaction was how this line represented a waste of MY time.  I convinced myself that I was a very important person, and that I could be doing better things with my time.  I decided that I needed the sandwich however, so reluctantly, with a big sigh, I joined the line.  I took out my phone, and started reading and sending emails to make better use of my “important” time.  I noticed out of the corner of my eye that the lady at the cash register was greeting everyone with a most beautiful smile.  My initial reaction was “how can she be so happy?”  I made this judgement based on how I lived my own life, and what I equated with happiness.  Few people smiled back at her, and few even answered her greeting, so this made me think, what was the point of being nice to those people?  I also thought about her job, and how she would not have been paid much, and that her smiling wouldn’t have been worth it, as her chances of promotion would have been slim.  I had an encounter with Christ that day.  What I didn’t understand was that this lady had it right.  She was freely giving, not looking for something in return.   She thought me a lesson through her kindness, and I can still see her all these years later.  That was the power of her witness.

We as Christians are called to be this light in the world.  We are called to be like the moon.  The moon reflects the light of the Sun.  It has no light itself, being a large rock, but it lights up the dark sky.  It gives us hope and joy.  We also have no light ourselves but we can radiate the light of Christ.  We radiate this light by loving and listening to Him.  The Pharisees in today’s Gospel had the source of light in front of them, but they rejected it.  They refused to be like the lady in the supermarket and to be channels of the light.

In these remaining weeks of lent, let us try and focus on radiating Christ’s light to others.  Let us say a kind word to someone today.  Let us smile.  Let us listen to another person.  Take an interest in them.  We listen not only with our ears, but with our eyes and our hearts.  Let us show the beauty of Christ, and remember His beautiful words from today’s Gospel; “As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”  Like the lady in the supermarket, let us make Christ present by our witness.

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