Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Reverend Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D.

4/3/2014 (7 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

As Christians, we claim to be the followers of Jesus Christ, the Light of the World. St. Paul repeatedly admonished his people to walk honorably as in the daylight. But how do you know if you are doing so?

As Christians, we claim to be the followers of Jesus Christ, the Light of the World.  St. Paul repeatedly admonished his people to walk honorably as in the daylight.  But how do you know if you are doing so?  Let me offer a brief examination of conscience, which can serve as an acid test for your own blindness or insight. When the media attack Christian values, what is your reaction?  When the polls inform us that x% of Catholics approve of practices contrary to the Catholic Faith, what is your conclusion?  When the Church, which offers the light of Christ to the world, challenges your own personal behavior with the unfailing standard of the Gospel, what is your response?  When political messiahs present you with an attractive social or economic package but likewise peddle immorality, do you vote for God or Mammon?  When the pseudo-intellectuals in our midst today, who have been blinded by their own enlightenment, serve up their pontifications, do you heed them?  If you do not choose Christ and His Church, you are blinder than the Pharisees or the French anti-clericals ever were!  Choosing the light means both thinking the right thoughts and performing the right actions.

Highlights

By Reverend Peter M. J. Stravinskas, Ph.D., S.T.D.

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

4/3/2014 (7 months ago)

Published in Living Faith

Keywords: light, living faith, eyes of faith, Christian courage, moral life, heroic virtue,


FALL RIVER, MA (Catholic Online) - This past Sunday, the Fourth Sunday of Lent, the Church observed "Laetare Sunday," "Rejoicing Sunday" because Lent is more than half-way over.  Visually, this theme is evoked as the priest replaces the somber purple vestments of Lent with rose-colored ones.  Many times , the prayers of the Sacred Liturgy sounded the theme of joy, often connected with light and enlightenment.

Have you ever lost your sight - even temporarily?  Have you ever been plunged into darkness unexpectedly?  It is a frightening, fearsome thing.  Darkness/light, night/day, and blindness/sight are themes frequently repeated by St. John in his Gospel because he wanted to teach some important truths about Jesus and the nature of Christianity through these familiar human experiences of reality.

In the third chapter of St. John's Gospel, we are allowed to eavesdrop on the dialogue between Our Lord and Nicodemus, a leading Pharisee who - at the same time - is a disciple of Jesus, approaching Him only under the cover of darkness.  Christ reminds Nicodemus that there is an intimate connection between walking in the darkness and doing evil deeds and between walking in the light and performing righteous deeds.
 
Six chapters later in Sundays passage, the Evangelist has this theological lesson acted out or dramatized for us in the cure of the man born blind.  There, we see a study in contrast presented for our consideration.  We meet the  man born blind, through no fault of his own; he is eager to see both spiritually and physically - he is open to the workings of God. 

Then we encounter the Pharisees, who have physical sight, but they have become spiritually blinded because they have lost all perspective; instead of rejoicing at the healing of the blind man, they react to the fact that Jesus has healed him on the Sabbath.  These men prove true the adage which says, "There are none so blind as those who will not see."  What John has done, then, is to present us with examples of two types of people we always have with us:  People who are willing to accept Jesus as the Light of the World, and people who are unwilling to do so.

Some time back I viewed the video of  Francois Poulenc's Dialogues of the Carmelites.  Although it lacks the excitement or lyricism of a Puccini opera, it contains a powerful message.  The action occurs in France during the French Revolution and zeroes in on one Carmelite convent, which becomes a symbol or microcosm for every other religious house at that time. 

If you recall your history, that period was also known as the Enlightenment, which prided itself on replacing the God of Revelation with the god of unaided human reason.  It was, of course, characterized by an active hostility toward religion.  As the plot unfolds, the revolutionary forces offer the Religious a choice: Give up your convents and habits, or give up your heads.  As a result, thousands of clergy and Religious were martyred - the first fruits of the so-called Enlightenment.

When man exceeds his bounds; when he is blind to his human limitations; when he tries to be like God; the enlightenment which follows is, in reality, darkness.  The Enlightenment continues to have a pernicious influence on our culture, bringing in its wake every kind of disaster from abortion-on-demand, to family breakdown, to sexual promiscuity, to materialism, to teenage suicide.  Man has attempted to experience enlightenment without Christ, with the result that the darkness has never been deeper, the blindness has never been more devastating.

Returning to our opera, we see that as the guillotine hits each nun's neck, the blindness of their persecutors in their hatred for Christ's truth becomes eminently clear.  Then true Enlightenment dawns on the crowds, who gradually stop their barbaric cheering of the violence and are forced to consider the witness of these rather unexceptional but holy women - women who were bearers of light in one of history's darkest hours.  They succeeded in bringing people from blindness, to sight, to genuine insight. 

An interesting historical note: So impressive were the courage and fidelity of those nuns and so negative the reaction of the people to their deaths that they were the last victims of a public execution for the remainder of the French Revolution.  Like Jesus, their witness to truth and love brought peace and reconciliation.

As Christians, we claim to be the followers of Jesus Christ, the Light of the World.  St. Paul repeatedly admonished his people to walk honorably as in the daylight.  But how do you know if you are doing so?  Let me offer a brief examination of conscience, which can serve as an acid test for your own blindness or insight.

When the media attack Christian values, what is your reaction?  When the polls inform us that x% of Catholics approve of practices contrary to the Catholic Faith, what is your conclusion?  When the Church, which offers the light of Christ to the world, challenges your own personal behavior with the unfailing standard of the Gospel, what is your response? 

When political messiahs present you with an attractive social or economic package but likewise peddle immorality, do you vote for God or Mammon?  When the pseudo-intellectuals in our midst today, who have been blinded by their own enlightenment, serve up their pontifications, do you heed them?  If you do not choose Christ and His Church, you are blinder than the Pharisees or the French anti-clericals ever were!  Choosing the light means both thinking the right thoughts and performing the right actions.

On Laetare Sunday, Christ the Light of the world asked you: Can you see, truly see - which is to say, are you walking in the light of a Christian day and thus do you truly have cause to rejoice?

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for November 2014
Lonely people:
That all who suffer loneliness may experience the closeness of God and the support of others.
Mentors of seminarians and religious: That young seminarians and religious may have wise and well-formed mentors.



Comments


More Living Faith

Two bishops dine and dialogue with peace activists

Image of War doesn't decide who is right, just who is left.

By Tony Magliano

During the recent U.S. Catholic bishops fall assembly in Baltimore, two bishops decided to forego the military chaplains dinner sponsored by the U.S. Army Chief of Chaplains Office, and attended instead a simple supper and discussion on peacemaking. On the evening of ... continue reading


'God always forgives, but the earth does not,' Pope warns Watch

Image of The Pope urged the world's leaders to rein in their greed and help the hungry.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A doomsday scenario in which Mother Nature would exact her revenge is possible, even likely, Pope Francis warns. The pontiff was speaking out against the exploitation of natural resources for profit. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Pope urged the world's ... continue reading


Pope Francis' special message: Why Poverty? 'And while we speak of new rights, the hungry remain, at the street corner, We ask for dignity, not for charity.'

Image of When we give our loaves and fishes to Christ, there is no end to the Good that can come from it.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pope Francis has asked the world to do more to help those who suffer from hunger and malnutrition. Despite gains made in infrastructure and outpourings of food, too many people with plenty have done too little to help. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - With ... continue reading


How do you raise a good, upstanding child? With daily prayers, weekly church attendance and the knowledge of God Watch

Image of Billy Graham, now 96, has reached out to millions with his joyous words of the truth of God and Jesus Christ.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Reverend Billy Graham, the world famous television evangelist and founder and chairman of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, has said that the reason the world seems to be in such dire straits is that children are not being raised right. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Learning Lessons for Life from Zaccheus and that Sycamore Tree Watch

Image of Zaccheus climbed that tree in order to see the Lord, not to be seen by Jesus. He did not care what the crowd thought of a grown man climbing a tree! He went after the encounter with Jesus Christ with a childlike simplicity and a reckless abandon. Do we?

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The Sycamore tree created a clear line of vision for Zaccheus. It helped him to rise above the crowd and see the Lord clearly. It placed him in the right position for the invitation that would follow. Jesus told him to come down for he was coming to his house! ... continue reading


Jesus Weeps and Calls us to Recognize His Visitation Watch

Image of The Cross, an instrument of torture, will become the sign of peace, for those who find their refuge under its shadow and embrace the One who stretches out His arms to embrace the whole world. There Jesus will deal definitively with the great enemy of peace, the sin which impedes it in each of our lives. With tenderness He looks out from the Mount of Olives and sees the Holy City of Jerusalem. How he loves that City. Then, Jesus weeps. He knows the City will soon be overtaken and destroyed by the armies of Titus. He weeps the tears of Love and cries compassion from His Sacred Heart

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

Jesus shows His disciples - and He shows us us, because we are His disciples in this hour - the pattern of living in a continual communion with the Father. He invites them - and He invites us - into this very communion of love which He has with the Father, in the ... continue reading


Children deserve both father and mother, Pope Francis says Watch

Image of Children have the right to be raised by a mother and a father, Pope Francis said, emphasizing that

By CNA/EWTN News

Children have the right to be raised by a mother and a father, Pope Francis said, emphasizing that "the family is the foundation of co-existence and a remedy against social fragmentation." Vatican City (CNA/EWTN News) - The Pope made these remarks on Nov. 17 at ... continue reading


Here are 10 Very Interesting Facts About the Catholic Church You Probably Didn't Know! Watch

Image of Pope Francis commands the world's smallest professional army.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

How much do you know about the Catholic Church? Here are 10 fun facts you might not know. See how many you know and post your result in the comments! 1.    Vatican City has the highest crime rate in the world! With a population around 500 people and a ... continue reading


Study: Latin Americans abandoning Catholic Church for evangelical, Protestant churches Watch

Image of Protestants now make up 19 percent of the Latin American population, while another eight percent now profess no religious affiliation, a figure reaching 37 percent in Uruguay.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Catholic Church is losing members in Latin America at an increasing rate. According to the Pew research Center, many Latin Americans are leaving the church for Pentecostal, Protestant churches. There is even a growing number of Latin Americans who now ... continue reading


Living Faith: Learning How to See from a Blind Man Watch

Image of

By Deacon Keith A Fournier

The people to whom we are introduced in the Gospel accounts have been selected from among many others who encountered Jesus - for a real purpose. They can put us in touch with the Lord, with ourselves, and with the meaning of our own lives.Through prayerful ... continue reading


All Living Faith News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Revelation 11:4-12
4 These are the two olive trees and the two lamps in ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 144:1, 2, 9-10
1 [Of David] Blessed be Yahweh, my rock, who trains ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 20:27-40
27 Some Sadducees -- those who argue that there is no ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for November 22nd, 2014 Image

St. Cecilia
November 22: In the fourth century appeared a Greek religious romance on the ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter