“DO I SIT IN DARKNESS?” (Mt 4:12-17): 27 January 2008 (3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time)
Today’s gospel reading tells us that when Jesus begins his ministry after the arrest of John, he fulfills Isaiah’s prophecy that “the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light.” I think that’s a great image: People sitting in darkness and then seeing light.
I remember when I was growing up, there was a huge oil crisis in the country, and as a result, we experienced frequent power interruptions. We would have no choice but literally sit in the dark, usually around a lighted candle, and because there was nothing else to do, we would talk and play board games until the light finally went back on.
More recently, sometime ago, for some reason, I had trouble sleeping. Maybe I was too tired to fall asleep (that happens to me sometimes), so I tossed and turned in my bed, getting increasingly upset that I couldn’t get my much-needed sleep, and in the process, of course, having even more difficulty falling asleep. Finally, I decided to sit up for a change. So there I was, sitting wide-eyed in the darkness until before I knew it, light began to drift in from the window. It was suddenly morning.
Sitting in darkness can also mean something much more profound. It can stand for the way we live our lives sometimes: When we choose to do wrong as we sometimes do, or when we insist on keeping some harmful habits partly because we’re not ready to give them up and partly because we simply can’t give them up. The dark here can refer to something as simple as smoking and as complex as a relationship that keeps you battered. In such cases, it takes nothing short of a “great light” to make us change our ways–an “Aha!” moment or divine grace. Yet sometimes “seeing a great light” still isn’t enough to coax us to get out of the darkness and to stand in the light. Aside from knowing the right thing and getting help from God, there are times when we simply have to decide that “enough’s enough!” Only then can we get up and stand in the light.
Our lives are always lights and shadows. It may be good to think and pray about the portions of our lives that are in the shadows. Could it be that in some areas of our lives we have been sitting in the shadows too long? Maybe it’s time to crawl out of the dark and stand in the light.
So here’s a Quick Question for you: “Are you sitting in some kind of darkness now?” Think about it, and share a thought, a feeling, or a question. Who knows? It might help another reader.