Reflection & Dialogue: Jesus and the Church the light of the world.
Three clear points emerge from today’s liturgy and readings and they give rich material for reflection on Christian life and our dialogue with the age in which we live.
The first is that Christ is the light of the world. It is for this purpose that he has been sent into our world by his heavenly Father. He was “the One Sent”, the Siloam, who cured the man born blind. He came so that the world might have a vision of the glory of the Father. That is clear from today’s Gospel reading, and from many other places in the New Testament.
The second point is that all this is not just for the lifetime of Jesus on earth. He chose apostles and disciples so that the Good News would be proclaimed to the ends of the earth, and to the end of time. The followers of Jesus are sent out to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. That is how the Church understood and preached the Gospel from the beginning. The Church is the universal sacrament and mystery of salvation in its teaching and in the lives of the faithful.
This takes us to the third point: the dialogue of the Church with herself and with the world of our own day. The church must constantly renew herself, to live as the second reading calls for, from a Christian light that is seen in complete goodness and right living and truth. Very often today when mention is made of Church renewal, renewal of church structures is what is intended, especially of the Vatican and its curia. While such reform is called for, where necessary, the renewal in keeping with today’s reading is not quite that. Rather is this renewal in question a change in the minds and religious practices of the faithful in keeping with the Gospel message, to bear witness to Christ, the light, in the world in which we live. A matter worth mentioning here in the question of dialogue with our age, but one not to be developed here now, is that many moderns believe that what New Testament readings and Christians regard as light, are in their view darkness, old-fashioned views and practices.