The difference light makes: A homily for the Fourth Sunday of Lent (B)

thToday, as we celebrate Laetare Sunday, we have a little bit more light in the church. We take a break from the dark, penitential purple and we marry it with the Easter White….the Church’s way of saying, we’re getting there. So buck up and keep on going. Rejoice in what is to come.

Of all the Masses throughout the year, of course hte Easter Vigil is my favorite. The Mass starts in the dead of night. It is dark. No candles, no lights are on. Just darkness.  And into that darkness….a fire….a light….JESUS.  With Jesus comes the light….because he is the light.

And light is one subject of our readings today.  We hear about the man born blind today in our gospel, a man who never saw anything but darkness….until that day, that day when he met Jesus…the Light….and he could see.

St Paul says that we’re given a choice: live in the light or live in the dark. Choose the light.

I know a Dominican who went through a bit of a botany stage in his life. He told me how he planted two plants.  Same sized pots, same soil, same seeds. He watered them the same. The only difference was–one he put in a dark room with little light, and the other he put in the light of day.

No surprise–the one that was in the darker room grew, but not so well: it was unfruitful, it looked weak, it was not tall. No roots.  But the one in the light….that thing grew like crazy.  It produced fruits, its roots were deep, it was pretty and green.

We’re wired like that. We need the light.  And Jesus is the light.  We’re made by God to need our Jesus.  If we don’t have him, by George we’re like that deadly looking plant.  We don’t produce fruits, we don’t live beautiful lives, we neglect our roots.

The challenge for us today is this: live in the light.  Sometimes people prefer darkness, as we hear in the Gospel of John.  Which is one strange thing about sin: it makes no sense, none whatsoever.  Why on earth would anyone live in that dark room if he had the chance–and the invitation and command!–to live in the light???  Of course we all have done that.

Live in the light, says Jesus.  And that will change EVERYTHING.