You Will Not Be In Darkness
by Fr. Jack McArdle
All who trust me will no longer be in the darkness. (John 12:46)
St. John's gospel has wonderful contrasts between light and darkness, life and death, good and evil. Jesus is seen as a light that came into the darkness of this world. John the Baptist announced that he was not the light (John 1:20). Jesus claimed that he was the Way, the Truth, and the Light (John 14:6). At the end of the gospel, he tells his disciples that they are now to become the light of the world (Matthew 5:14). They were to let their light shine before people, so that their good works might be seen as evidence of the goodness of their Father in heaven. They were not to hide their light under a bushel, but let it shine for all to see (Matthew 5:16).
Trusting in Jesus brings us closer to him. The closer we come to him, the brighter the light. We are no longer children of darkness, because the angel of darkness no longer has any control or power over us. Living in darkness implies several limitations. We cannot see, we cannot read, we cannot know what surrounds us. When we trust Jesus, we are brought into the light of revelation. We come to know his mind, we come to learn his will. If we are to follow him, we need to know what way he wishes us to travel. To remain in darkness, is to remain in ignorance.
Jesus calls us his friends. He said that we are no longer slaves, because a slave does not know what his master is doing (John 15:15). We, however, know, because Jesus has told us everything. He came to lead us out of the darkness of ignorance. He told us that, if we followed him, we would not be walking in darkness, but would have the light of life (John 8:12).
The gifts of the Spirit include wisdom, discernment, knowledge. When we exercise these gifts, we are not walking in darkness. If someone comes to me, and is extremely disturbed, and confused, I can expect to have wisdom, discernment, and knowledge in dealing with that person. If I am walking in the power of the Spirit, I expect the gifts to be available when needed. Only God can do a God-thing. If the Spirit is not working through me, I cannot be involved in God's work.
It can happen that, when the person leaves me, he may well express wonder at how insightful and intuitive I had been. I may have given the impression that I could almost read the other person's mind. As soon as that person has left my office, I may not know what day it is! The gift was present when needed, and, it is no longer present, because it is not needed. The gift is not mine, but I can draw on a gift of the Spirit, if that is needed to do God's work. There is no excuse for a Christian stumbling around in the dark. Jesus is like the bright sun that came into a dark cave; there can never be darkness there again.
Again and again, in these reflections, we have to look at that word 'trust', and see what it really means. Trust could be defined as having a firm belief in the honesty, veracity, or justice of a person, or thing. It implies reliance on the truth of a statement, even without testing it. This trust comes from us, but it has its roots in the goodness of the other. Faith is a response to love. When I reflect on why Jesus came, what he did and said when he did come, and what Christians have discovered since about his message and mission, it is hardly asking too much that I should trust him. Someone who has died because of love for me, is not very likely to deceive me. In other words, if I don't trust Jesus, who can I trust?
We are all familiar with people who are confused, uncertain, lacking confidence, not sure where to turn, or where to go. There are varying amounts of darkness in their lives. This promise is especially addressed to them. It is a wonderful gift to be able to walk in the light, not to be stumbling, and to be deeply aware. Awareness is a gift of the Spirit. It is an inner vision that can see over, through, and beyond all obstacles. It contributes greatly to inner peace, and to a feeling of accompaniment. I feel that I'm not alone, but am being led. Jesus has entrusted the continuance of this promise to the Holy Spirit, who continues his work among us.
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