I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.
I watched the gentle gray-haired teacher pick up a slender match and strike it against the side of the matchbox. The group of preschoolers at her feet wriggled like puppies. Unruffled by their inattention, she quietly lit the small white candle at the center of the prayer altar.
Turning back towards her restless students, she spoke simply:
“My friends, Jesus Christ is the light of the world. And in Him there is no darkness.”
I sat in her classroom that morning hoping to learn about the Catechesis of the Good Shepherd model now being used by the parish school where I grew up. And while I did learn much from the catechists who let me explore their materials, her simple prayer with the children was what I have never forgotten.
Every single time I have lit a candle since that morning many years ago, I hear her gentle voice echoing in my head as a match sparks to flame and the flame leaps to the wick.
Jesus Christ is the light of the world. And in Him there is no darkness.
Today’s Gospel is typical Saint John: deceptively simple in language, theologically rich in meaning. Jesus uses heady words—judgment, authority, commandment—to describe the relationship between the Son and the Father.
But the heart of the Gospel—today, tomorrow, every time we pick it up to encounter the Word—is as clear as the contrast between light and dark: I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness.
If only it were that easy—to delight in the light and escape the darkness.
If only we could teach our unruly hearts to rest in this simple truth.
If only we could put into practice the words of the Creed we pray at Mass: God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God.
Today let us pause and remember the power of light. Let us invite Christ into the dark corners of our hearts. Let us reflect His brilliant light in all that we do.
Laura Kelly Fanucci is a mother, writer, and theological researcher. She and her husband are raising three little boys in the suburban wilds of Minnesota. You can find out more about her here.