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Homily for 3rd Sunday, Jan. 22-23, 2011

posted Jan 23, 2011, 3:42 PM by fathermark@stmaryshuntingburg.org

Third Sunday of the Year

St. Mary's, Huntingburg

January 22-23, 2011

 

 

            Since my mother was Japanese, I have been to Japan a number of times.

And since she was from Toyko, I can tell you from experience that Tokyo is a fascinating city ... in any number of respects.

One of many fascinating things is the amount of neon ... all of the neon lights at night in certain parts of the city ... flashing, multi-colored, crowded together, in various shapes, drawing your eyes to this business or that ...

And it isn't just night clubs ...as soon as it's dark ... it's flashing, blinking, dancing neon lights in front of video game stores, convenience stores, noodle shops, tourist traps ... and every manner of business .

It really is fascinating ... almost mesmerizing ... all of those multicolored neon lights shining and sparkling and blinking and dancing ... against a dark, night-time sky ...

 

            Of course, it all looks very different when you go back to the same neighborhood in the light of day ...

The neon lights are turned off ... they wouldn't make an impression in broad daylight anyway.

And in the morning light, you can see that the businesses with the shiniest lights might be the cheapest, the most tawdry, the most uninteresting.

Maybe you'd discover, as you walk back along the same road in the light of day, that the attraction of all of those neon lights had led you down into a more questionable part of town.

Maybe you're surprised where those flashing lights had made you wander.

 

            "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.

Upon those who dwelt in a land of gloom, a light has shone."

These are the words of our first reading from the Prophet Isaiah ...

... and they are words repeated in today's Gospel:

"The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light."

Jesus himself, of course, is that light that has shone in  our darkness.

Jesus is the sun who has shone in the gloom.

Or ... as the our psalm response says today:

"The Lord is my light ...and my salvation."

 

            Well, of course, we all believe that.

We all believe that Jesus is the light – that Jesus is the light of the world  ... yeah, of course.

We're just not always sure what that's supposed to mean in our lives.

Because the problem is that, most of the time, we don't think that we're living in the darkness.

We don't think we're living in gloom.

Things look pretty lighted up in our lives ... we see clearly ... we know what path to follow ... we aren't in danger of getting lost because of the darkness.


 

            But, a lot of times, what passes for light in our modern world is like those flashy neon lights in Tokyo.

Lots of flash ... lots of dazzle ... lots of distraction ...

... but not a lot of clarity ...

What looks flashy in the darkness ... well, in the light of day ... is seen for what it really is: cheap and tawdry and superficial.

I'm talking about the attraction for money, for stuff that we don't need, for status, for getting ahead, trying to make ourselves "better" than others, etc., etc., etc.

And the  apparent lights of our world ... in fact ... just lead us down paths that we ought not to walk.

The sad fact is that we live in a world in which there is so much darkness ... so many things that pass for light ... that are anything but.

And so we need Jesus ... his teaching ... his life, death, and resurrection ... as our true light.

 

            And ... if we have the light ... the light that is Jesus ...

... if we have the true light of faith ... in Jesus ...

... then Jesus says to us what he says at the end of today's Gospel:

"Repent!"

"Repent!"

... which, in this context, means:

Well, then ... live like you have clear vision ... live like you have a clear vision about what is truly good and worthy and holy ...

Live like the life of Jesus is your light ... that faith in him ... and in what he taught ... really enlightens your way of living.

Live like you can see past the superficial "lights" of this passing world ...

Repent!

 

            "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light"

 ... if that's us ... then let's stop walking in the darkness ... and truly start living in the light.

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