Fr. Vincent Hawkswell
Indeed, it is not only on evildoers that suffering and misfortune fall; “good” and “deserving” people are afflicted as well, Lewis points out. “We are perplexed to see misfortune falling upon decent, inoffensive, worthy people,” Lewis says. However, God, who made us, knows that our happiness and prosperity in this world are not enough. All this will pass away, and if we have not learned to know him, we will be wretched forever. In his mercy, therefore, God troubles us, warning us in advance of an “insufficiency” that one day we will have to discover. (2021)
Fr. Austin Fleming
A CONCORD PASTOR COMMENTS
Which do I prefer: the light – or the darkness?
- The darkness here would be the shadows in which I hide, keeping secret any desires and deeds of mine I’d be ashamed to bring out into the light.
- The darkness would be the cloud cover that keeps the light from shining on my envy of what others have.
- The darkness might be in lonely corners where I hide my vulnerable heart and shield it from the risks and costs of love.
- The darkness might be in caves where I store up my anger, grudges and resentment, secluding them from the healing light of God’s mercy.
- Or perhaps the darkness is disguised by my smile: an outward, bright appearance masking the gloom inside.
The darkness might be any one or all of the ways I satisfy myself with less: with less than what God wants of me; with less than what God asks of me; with less than what God offers me; with less than what God made and calls me to be – a child of the light, drawn to the light, ultimately satisfied and only truly happy in the light of God’s grace and truth. (2015)
Fr. Evans K Chama, M.Afr
The readings show a striking contrast: sin and punishment in the First Reading, and the declaration, in the Gospel, of the gratuitous salvation that God offers to every person. But, what’s salvation? And how do we access it? Let’s us be inspired by the bravery of Nicodemus who crosses the line; from darkness to light. (2018)
Fr. Chama’s reflection is divided into the following sections:
- Sin and punishment
- Nicodemus, example of our hesitation
- Our own dilemma
- Crossing the line; from darkness to light
Msgr. Joseph A. Pellegrino
DIOCESE OF ST. PETERSBURG
Today’s second reading, from Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians, concludes with the statement “We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance that we should live in them.”
Let’s begin by focusing on that word, handiwork. Sadly, handiwork is hard to come by these days. How many things do we own that we can say are not the result of mechanization or computerization? There are many good and valid reasons for the way materials are produced. 3d printers can produce precise medical devices. But with that understood, how many items do we own that have been carefully crafted by someone’s hands? Whatever we do own that which is in fact handiwork is most likely very expensive. It is also unique. (2021)
This year has been tumultuous already, and we are just in the first quarter. The events of the past few months, unfortunately, have revealed that many people are happy living in darkness, devoid of truth, love and justice. Today’s Gospel calls us to embrace truth… We have witnessed what happens when power is given to people who are averse to truth. Distorted realities and corruption persist, not only in government but in the minds and hearts of loyal followers. As we try to recover from years of lies and their effects, we must all come to grips with reality. Acts of hate and continued division are dark and evil, and people who truly want to embrace the light of Christ must also embrace truth. 2021)
Fr. George Smiga
BUILDING ON THE WORD
We all have areas of darkness. Yet we keep clinging to what hurts us. What can we do to break this negative cycle? Jesus shows us the way. In the Gospel he tells Nicodemus, “Those who walk in the truth, come to the light.” The way to the light is to acknowledge the truth about ourselves and about our relationship to God. We leave the darkness, not by focusing on the darkness but by focusing on a truth. The truth on which we focus depends upon the darkness in which we find ourselves.
If we are unable to forgive, the truth on which we should focus is our own imperfection. Have others hurt us? Yes. Was that wrong? Certainly. But, we ourselves are not perfect. We ourselves have hurt others, and we ourselves must depend upon their forgiveness and God’s forgiveness. When we can claim the truth of our own imperfection and our dependence upon the forgiveness of others, it can free us to forgive and to leave the darkness behind. (2012)
Title of Fr. Smiga’s other homilies for this Sunday (located on the same page) are:
- Catching a Three-legged Chicken
- The World God Loves
“Lord, It’s Me”
- The Two Feet of Love
Fr. John Kavanaugh, SJ
SUNDAY WEB SITE
When I was a preteen, I used to be embarrassed by those signs, some of them in garish neon, which sported the phrase, “Jesus Saves.” It seemed so primitive. I also remember those Sunday morning television programs that piously ended with, “I have come that they may have life and have it more abundantly.” Who on earth would be so arrogant as to make such a claim? And I also thought for the longest time that the “IHS” over graves stood for “I have suffered,” a somewhat self-indulgent epitaph. Little did I know that “IHS” means Jesus. (1997)
Lent is a time for prayer. One very helpful way to do this is to read the Word of God, specially the gospels and spend time in silent reflection thus allowing Him to address us directly, to talk to us about His concerns. Then we will realize that His concerns are really those that are best for us — scatter the darkness from our lives by helping us name our “devils” and allow ourselves to be reborn — as Nicodemus did.
Our image of God may have been formed by our experiences with people who influenced us in our growing years.
A good Christian should show to the world the light received in the Holy Mass. The light should shine in him or her so brightly that they should be the image of Christ for others.
The suffering that diminishes us may be the same suffering that can magnify us. As examples we may cite the various letters from prison that became sources of strength and inspiration. Our great national hero, Dr. Jose Rizal wrote the beautiful poem “Mi Ultimo Adios” while waiting for his execution. Who can forget its opening lines, “Adios Patria adorada, region del sol querida”? From his experiences of Hitler’s concentration camp, Dr. Viktor Frankl came up with logotheraphy and his book, “Man’s Search for Meaning.” The theologian Bonhoeffer who resisted Hitler wrote his “Letters from Prison”. St. Paul himself wrote some of his letters from prison (Col. 4:7-10).
The people are taken from their homeland and brought to a place where they are forced to surrender their faith and customs and required to live among a group of people who have no regard for them. This is confirmed in Psalm 137 when the author writes that the people hung up their harps and wept by the rivers of Babylon as their remembered their lives in Zion. Whenever the people remembered Zion they wept and the author of the psalm asks God to make his right hand wither if he ever forgets about Jerusalem. He asks God to let his tongue cling to the roof of his mouth if he does not prize Jerusalem above his highest joys.