Today, March 11th, Daylight Savings Time began, we sprang forward and changed our watches unless we have electronic devices that automatically change. It seems the amount of daylight increases; it just means we get up earlier to get the illusion of longer days. The amount of daylight does increase as the annual tilt of our planet’s orbit increases, we gain more hours of daylight.
Similarly, we hear in John’s Gospel today that Jesus came not to condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through him. In the previous verse we read, “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” For Jesus is the light of the world, who came to dispel the darkness and bring us into the light, his light, the light of a new day into the light of hope and promise as we journey closer to Easter.
During our pilgrimage through the Holy Land, we celebrated Mass in Bethlehem, the place of Jesus’ birth, in the church of All Nations at Gethsemane in the Kidron Valley where he prepared for the cross, the church in Bethany dedicated to Martha, Mary and Lazarus, in the church of the Last Supper where Jesus left his disciples the gift of the Eucharist, the Mount of the Beatitudes where he taught those famous words, “Blessed are..”, in Nazareth where Mary said “Yes” to the Angel and at Mount Carmel where Elijah defeated the prophets of Baal. All of these places captured moments of light where the hope and promise of faith met the land where Jesus first taught, lived, suffered and died for us. We, pilgrims walked on holy ground and yet experienced a land that is divided and troubled because each faith group sees the land differently, leading to division and separation.
As Jesus brought light into the world for the poor and rich alike, he invites us to reflect his light into the lives of others. Each week during Lent we can perform some act of charity, some act of kindness to assist others as we continue our threefold practices: almsgiving, prayer, and fasting.
Lenten Blessings, Father Larry Hendel