Dec 12, 2020


The theme of joy is very much echoed throughout the Church in her liturgy this Sunday. The Introit at the beginning of Mass tells us to “Rejoice in the Lord always”. In the Opening Prayer we asked God that we might “attain the joys of so great a salvation”. The first reading tells us to “shout for joy”, while the Psalm adds its voice that we “Cry out with joy and gladness”.

In this world, in the midst of darkness and long nights, the effects of the pandemic that cause so much suffering, hardship and anxiety, our Christian faith dares, to light another candle, and as we do so, we dare curse the darkness. 

We do so, not because of vaccines or because of changes or challenges in politics or even the hope that one day our lives will get back to normal. There will always be battles, conflicts, uncertainties and upsets waiting for us tomorrow, next year, be they spiritual, economic, political or personal. 

For the Christian, our personal and community life should always and everywhere be rooted in hope in God’s good purpose for humanity, in His good purpose for you and me. His will is that we should always take delight that, regardless of where or how we find ourselves, if we hope in Him and have faith in His power to save us, we will not see a better day. We will live to see an eternal day, a new world, where the energy of God’s enduring light will give new definition to our lives and all of creation. 

But for now, the reality check. It is cold, there are long shadows, there is much fear, anxiety around us. There is also much arrogance and apathy as well. These are the dark places where we are often tempted to hide. There are dream worlds places we are often tempted to run away to. There are the behaviors of distraction that we are tempted to get locked in our temptation to compromise between light and darkness. To do so, living this way always inevitably leads to living the shadows, flirting with light and darkness, being caught in the tension and tug of war between hope and despair. That’s the breeding ground of sin and despair. 

As we try to look forward to Christmas and a New Year out here in the cold and darkness, exposed to the elements and restricted by behavior patterns that are not naturally conducive to building up trust and hope, stand with the Virgin Mary and make very own her words, her song that we used as our psalm today - make it your everyday prayer particularly every evening, and especially when you find yourself in a dark place, or when you wonder what today is or was all about and when uncertain what tomorrow holds. 

Mary sang this song, prayed these words, even though her world had been turned upside down and she knew in her heart of hearts she would face challenges, testing, suffering and sacrifices. In the midst of all the uncertainties this is her song, make it yours:

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,

my spirit rejoices in God my Savior;

for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed:

the Almighty has done great things for me,

and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him

in every generation.

He has shown the strength of his arm,

he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,

and has lifted up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things,

and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel,

for he has remembered his promise of mercy,

The promise he made to our fathers,

to Abraham and his children for ever.

(Luke 1:46ff)

Light and darkness are not compatible.  Light always conquers darkness. Faith and doubt cannot be welded together. Faith casts away doubt. Goodness and evil cannot be married to each other. The virtue of goodness always triumphs over the deception of darkness. Love and hatred cannot both be embraced - only rejoicing in God’s loving plan, is eternal. Everything else is passing. 

You can’t teach sins away!

St. John the Baptist had attracted many people by his message of repentance and the need for conversion in preparation for the arrival of Ch...