Spiritual Reflection 1/22/23

“Unleash the Word of God.” This call brings the power of the Scriptures into the brokenness and messiness of people’s lives.  It brings the conviction that it can heal things in our lives, our families, our schools, our workplaces, and this culture. Only this life-changing power of God, the one that raised Jesus from the dead, is the source of hope for this world and this culture. Nothing else will work. History has proven it time and time and time again. 

The Scripture is not merely words. It is power. It is a love story. This story tells us that God is passionately in love with you and me, though at times we don’t think or act in this truth.  We don’t allow our minds and our hearts to be drawn to this Light of Scripture; instead, we allow them to be drawn into the darkness. If we stay in this darkness too long, our mind’s eyes will be deceived.  If you have ever been in a dark place for a while and look into a bright light right away, it hurts. It can be painful to the eyes. However, it only takes the eye five minutes to adapt to light once exposed to it. When we stray from the Light of God’s Word, we too become starved and straining for something more satisfying.  If we live in that darkness for a prolonged period of time, we even forget what the true colors of life hold for us, and it can seem painful at times when God asks us to change. 

We hear this in the First Reading.  Israel forgot about God’s word and moved away from him.  They were living in darkness, but God who is all-loving and all-powerful will give something great to illuminate the world.  Isaiah speaks of the moment when Israel will be delivered from the prolonged darkness and oppression it has suffered as a result of its infidelity to God.  Our Father didn’t want Israel to stay in the darkness. He promised them a great light to bring them back to Him.  And so, what did God do? The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. 

When Jesus came into our world, everything He did and lived during His earthly mission was an example of bringing Light to the world. His word and action brings light to people with a sinful past, an allusion to the darkness.  His Light draws others to Him not only so that they can see the way, but so that they can someday bring Christ’s Light to others. 

Every one of us at some point in our lives has felt overwhelmed and disoriented and has questioned the meaning of life or how we are living it.  This distress doesn’t just focus on that moment we are trying to face. It makes us think of the road traveled and where we want to go.  It is in that moment that Christ wants to be our Light if we let Him.  So let Him. Have we ever really allowed our minds and hearts to be challenged by learning the truth in the Scriptures and praying with them? Have we done our homework each week by learning about Him more than the previous week? 

His love wants to break into the messiness of our lives. Don’t be mistaken. We all have different things in our lives that we need to work on. Trust me when I tell you that I definitely do. God wants to bust into your messiness. You and I can change. We can get more and more life and Light within us. 

Maybe you walked into Mass today bitter, angry, or resentful. Maybe you are going through real pains in your life, such as a bad marriage, a physical disease, or abuse.  Maybe someone you know has gone through an addiction that not only ruined their life, but hurt yours too.  Everyone here has some kind of scar, wound, and pain. If we could see all of the prayers that people around us are praying right now, we would know that we are not alone in this world. 

God hears our prayers, and here is the good news: He wants to help. He wants to help all of us, but we have to want it. So is there anything keeping us from diving deeper into His life? Is there anything stopping us from learning and accepting His truthful, life-giving messages to us? Can we fight though those obstacles in our lives that are keeping us from Him, those things that are keeping us in the dark? 

Jesus is extending His hand to us right now to bring us into His Light. All we have to do is grab it. Wouldn’t it be great to walk out of here knowing that we are not alone? That we have a God who walks the journey of life with us. That He is ready and waiting to speak His Light of Truth and love in the midst of the darkness around us. 

Well, He is ready to unleash His powerful, life changing words to us in Scripture — He is ready to move from the Word to the flesh in the Eucharist. When we accept His help, the difference in our lives will be night and day.