Pastors Corner for the 4th Sunday of Advent, Year B, by Fr. Nobert Munekani SJ
As we begin our Christmas celebration, celebrating Jesus’ birth, as we commemorate Christ’s birth into our world. This evening we light the final candle of the Advent wreath. First, we lit the candle for Hope because Jesus is our hope. Second, we lit the candle for Peace because Jesus is our hope and peace. Third, we lit the candle for Joy because Jesus brings joy and fourth, the candle for Love because Jesus is love. This evening we light the centre candle. This is the Christ candle. Jesus is born. Jesus has come. Jesus is our salvation.
At Christmas eve mass, we read from the Gospel of Luke that describes Jesus’ birth in a humble manger in Bethlehem. On Christmas day, we hear from the beginning of John’s Gospel, with images that are more directly poetic and theological in nature, particularly the image of light. For the people of the ancient Mediterranean world, light and darkness were two separate realities. Darkness did not signify the absence of light, but rather the presence of darkness, just as light meant the presence of light. Just as light can push out the presence of darkness, darkness can push out light. The image of light is associated with life in John’s Gospel in a special way. Jesus comes to the world as both light and life. John tells us that Jesus is the word of God in whom all living things come into being. Since we all have light as living beings, light and life go hand in hand. Light and life have their origin in God’s created work. As created beings, we can hand down this light to others, but we can’t create God’s light ourselves.
We use the symbolism of light in a special way in the Sacrament of Baptism. We receive the light of Christ in our lives when we are baptized. There are times in our lives when the darkness can overwhelm us. Things can come out of the darkness of the world and hit us unexpectedly, taking our focus off Jesus and off our faith in him. We can focus on the light in other things, taking the focus off our faith. We can focus on our work, our personal ambitions, our national identity, success or material possessions. Those lights can outshine our Catholic faith and the light of Jesus in the world. As part of our Church’s faith, we believe in the Word of God that created the world and that came to earth as the baby Jesus as a light to our world. This truth that Jesus brings can seem very distant from our daily reality, especially now with secular message that is taking over our society. The violence, darkness, and chaos of our world can overwhelm us. With all we witness in our daily lives, it may seem like the light of God and the light of truth are being drowned out. We need God’s light to serve as our compass, to lead us and guide us.
It is important that we as Catholics strongly reaffirm with our lives the salvation that comes with Christ’s birth as a light in our world. In the humble manger in Bethlehem, this light that now illuminates our lives was made manifest to the world. Christ as a light is the way that leads to the fullness of our humanity as it is revealed to us. It would be beneficial for all of us this Christmas season to ask ourselves how Jesus functions as a light in our own lives and what we can do in order to follow the light of Christ and to be that light to others. Blessed Christmas to you all.
For the sick
Let us continue to pray for the sick members of our parish especially Benedicta Ngwebelele,Phoeb Ngwenya, and Andrew Ledwaba
Rev. Fr. Nobert Munekani SJ