"And I beheld, and heard the voice of one eagle flying through the midst of heaven,
saying with a loud voice: Woe, woe, woe to the inhabitants of the earth....
[Apocalypse (Revelation) 8:13]

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Fr. Campbell, “The Light of Life” (Jn.8:12)

“The Light of Life” (Jn.8:12)
Fr. Campbell

On Holy Saturday evening at sundown, a new fire is kindled at the entrance of the church. The priest blesses the new fire, and the deacon carries the triple candle, burning with the new fire, up the aisle of the church to the sanctuary, singing three times: “Lumen Christi” – “The Light of Christ”. The Paschal Candle is lit from the new fire, and the deacon sings the “Exsultet”, a song celebrating the light which symbolizes the Risen Christ, the Light of the world. We share the joy of our Holy Mother Mary, the Apostles and the holy women, who rejoiced at the words of the angel:

“Do not be afraid; for I know that you seek Jesus, who was crucified. He is not here, for he has risen even as he said” (Mt.28:5,6).

What does it mean – Christ, the Light of the world? St. John tells us in the prologue of his Gospel, and in his first Epistle:

“In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness; and the darkness grasped it not… It was the true light that enlightens every man who comes into the world” (Jn.1:4,5,9).

“And the message we have heard from him and announce to you is this: that God is light, and in Him is no darkness. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we lie, and are not practicing the truth. But if we walk in the light as He also is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son, cleanses us from all sin” (1Jn.1:5-7).

The Light of Christ separates the children of light from the children of darkness:

“He who believes in Him is not judged; but he who does not believe is already judged, because he does not believe in the name of the only-begotten Son of God. Now this is the judgment: The light has come into the world, yet men have loved the darkness rather than the light, for their works were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, that his deeds may not be exposed. But he who does the truth comes to the light that his deeds may be made manifest, for they have been performed in God” (Jn.3:18-21).

Is it really necessary to believe in the Light, Jesus Christ? Are we not all on our way to Heaven, whether Catholic or Protestant, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, or even atheist – and that whether we want it or not? Are not all religions from the same source – all authentic, all from God, all leading to salvation – as the new church teaches, at least in practice? The Jews, for instance, have been reassured by the Vatican that the new church will not preach nasty things to them, like they must believe and be baptized, since they have their own covenant with God, “never revoked”, as John Paul II falsely claimed, contradicting the Holy Scriptures.

But only the truth makes us free – free from error. To have the truth and be free from error is to be able to judge correctly about one’s path: “He who follows me does not walk in the darkness, but will have the light of life” (Jn.8:12).

But are there not other lights to guide us? Well, yes, there are any number of them, but they can all be summed up under one name – Lucifer. Lucifer is the “light bearer”, the fallen angel whom we call the devil, Satan, and “the prince of this world”. His “light” is darkness itself. Many follow him, but he is a liar and a murderer from the beginning, and he will lead them to his own place – the pit of everlasting fire called Hell.

Many are Lucifer’s agents, false teachers who claim to guide people to success, prosperity and happiness in this world, but who are themselves deceived. Many prominent entertainers, for instance, have sold their souls to the devil as the price of their success. There are TV programs that no Christian should watch. The young are especially vulnerable. There are whole religions that promise salvation here and now, because they claim there is no God, there is no sin, there is no judgment, and no Hell! But don’t be deceived! This is not what we have learned from our Lord, who assures us:

“He who follows me does not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (Jn.8:12).

“For you were once darkness,” says St. Paul, “but now you are light in the Lord. Walk, then, as children of light (for the fruit of the light is in all goodness and justice and truth), testing what is well pleasing to God; and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For of the things that are done by them in secret it is shameful even to speak; but all the things that are exposed are made manifest by the light: for all that is made manifest is light. Thus it says, ‘Awake, sleeper, and arise from among the dead, and Christ will enlighten thee.’” (Eph.5:8-14).

The words of the Exsultet express our sentiments as we rejoice in the Light of the Risen Christ:

“Let the angelic choirs of heaven now rejoice; let the divine mysteries be celebrated with joy; and let the trumpet of salvation resound for the victory of so great a King. Let the earth also rejoice, illumined with such resplendent rays; and enlightened with the brightness of the eternal King. Let it feel that the darkness of the whole world is dispersed…

“We beseech Thee, therefore, O Lord, that this candle, consecrated in honor of Thy name, may continue to burn to dissipate the darkness of this night. And being accepted as a sweet savor, may it be mixed with the lights of heaven. May the morning star find its flame alive; that star which knows no setting, that star which returning from hell, shone serenely upon mankind.”

Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is truly risen!