My Dear Sisters and Brothers!
St Paul in the Letter to the Ephesians wrote: “You were darkness once, but now you are light in the Lord.” Why were those Christians in Ephesus light in the Lord? Because of the Lord Jesus, who upon seeing the blind man, as we could hear in the Gospel today, said: “As long as I am in the world I am the light of the world.” The Lord Jesus who was the first to see the man born blind and who made him see for the first time, also saw those women and men in Ephesus, like he did in other places, and he offered them a miracle of faith through the preaching of the Gospel. St Paul the Apostle reflecting on their journey wrote: “Anything exposed by the light will be illuminated and anything illuminated turns into light.” The illumination the Apostle speaks of is the sight of the Lord Jesus Christ who is the first to see what is plunged into darkness of sin and who gives his Holy Word to turn it into light.
In the Gospel we heard that the Lord “spat on the ground, and made paste with the spittle and put it over the eyes of the blind man.” Then he sent him to the Pool of Siloam (a name which means ‘sent’). In our over hygienic society it may put, at least, some people off. But in the tradition of the Bible, what comes from the mouth of God, as we heard it on the First Sunday of Lent when Jesus was in the desert, is the Word of God, his Good News. The spittle here is a symbol of the Word of God. The acceptance of that Good News leads to Baptism when one is bathed in the Lord like the earth bathes in the sunlight every morning and embraces a new day. The person emerging from Baptism embraces a “new day” which isn’t defined by hours but by the quality of life, by a new lifestyle.
Those atheistic leaders of France despised the Good News, they despised the Bible and they first plunged themselves into darkness then they turned the City of Light into the City of Darkness. However it is not the thing of the past. The Word of God, His Good News is despised and ridiculed today too.
My Dear Fellow Believers! We continue our Lenten journey when through prayer, fasting and almsgiving, with minds enlightened by the Word of God, His Good News, with consciences illuminated by the sight of the Lord Jesus we bring to the throne of mercy, to the Sacrament of Reconciliation our past. What for? Because “anything exposed by the light will be illuminated and anything illuminated turns into light.” For some that journey will climax at their Baptism, for most of us it will culminate with the renewal of our Baptismal Promises at the Paschal Vigil when we recommit ourselves in the midst of our Mother Church to follow Christ who said: “Whoever follows me will have the light of life” not simply for themselves but to offer to the wider community a contrast which can enlighten them as well.
St John the Apostle in his great vision saw a “City of Light.” It wasn’t Paris though. It was the New Jerusalem descending from heaven, the gathering of the redeemed who don’t need the light of lamps and the sun because Jesus Christ is their light. Before that vision is manifested at the end of times we, the followers of the Lord Jesus, are called to be light in the world we live in.