The Light of the World
Fourth Sunday of Lent B

Frank Enderle
Reproduced with Permission

During the forty days of this season we should observe fasting and abstinence, do charitable works, and pray more. Lent is a time for meditation but it is not, as some think, a boring time. It is a time for us to renew ourselves, cleansing ourselves of sin and preparing for a sincere conversion.

On this Fourth Sunday of Lent, the Church celebrates every year a day that is called, since the first days, Laetare Sunday, which comes from a Latin word that means “rejoice.” This is the first word that is said in the Antiphon of the Entrance Rite in all of the Masses this Sunday.

In the Gospel Reading today, Saint John explains to us the true cause of so much sadness and sin in the world. He tells us that even though Our Lord, Jesus Christ, Light of the World, came into the world humanity preferred the darkness instead of the light. Even today, many people are afraid of the light. They turn their backs on God. They consciously and repeatedly sin, acting as if God did not exist. And, of course, these people, since they live spiritually in a dark and sick world, are afraid of the light. They prefer the darkness.

A good Christian should show to the world the light received from the Hoy Eucharist in the Holy Mass. The light should shine in him or her so brightly that they should be the image of Christ for others. When we live good Christian lives, our happiness surges out into the world from a pure heart. We truly become People of God, people who do not fear the Light of Christ, who try by every means possible to ensure that the light received is transformed into good works that show our love for God.

Lent is an austere period in the liturgical year but it is also a time for authenticity. We know that there are many people in this world who will try to lure us away from our faith. Frequently, we have to make sacrifices in order to live as the Lord wants us to live. We are tempted to exchange our love of God for love of earthly things such as illicit pleasure, ill-gained success or power. These days of Lent place before us a dilemma. We have to choose between the light and darkness, between good and evil, between love of God and love of those earthly things that separate us from the true road to Christ. If we choose good, if we decide to follow Jesus, sacrificing those other things, we will win out in the long run. We will realize that all of those other things only end up separating us from God and doing us harm. Without a doubt, when we change our lives and choose the good, we become better persons. It could even be possible that when we show others, through our good works, that we live a joyful and pure life completely dedicated to doing good we will influence family members and maybe even the rest of the community to do the same.