Darkness or light. Without the one we do not know the other.

Tom Bartolomeo
14th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reproduced with Permission

Last Sunday, the 13th week of Ordinary Time, we basked in the glory and light of Simeon's revelation who embraced the child Jesus in the temple, saying, "Now, Lord, you let your servant go in peace; your word has been fulfilled".

His Canticle ends our daily prayers in the Liturgy of the Hours before we retire: "a light", he said, which would " reveal you [ Christ ] to the nations." ( Luke 2: 29 ff ).

Recalling the creation of the world in Genesis when nothing of this world existed and all was "darkness" and when God uttered "let there be light" -- God would ultimately reveal his Son, also the Son of Man, Jesus, who would become "the light of the world". In the beginning the world was gifted to humankind when God said it was "good". In his last act of creation he formed man in his own image and God said that all he had made was "very good". But that was spoiled for a time by a fallen angel's success in tempting mankind when both Satan and mankind were banished to a world of their own making, a world of darkness and light, of evil and good.

Simeon revealed that for Mary, the mother of the Son of Man who is also the Son of God that in this world "a sword would pierce your heart" as it would certainly pierce the heart of Jesus. Simeon also said, "the child" would be a "sign of contradiction . . . destined for the rise and fall of many . . . [so] that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed." ( Ibid 2:34-35 ).

Simeon's prophetic and stark revelation revealed that Jesus' life, "a light to the nations" would expose the darkness of sin in the world that:

"through him", as the Apostle John said, "was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it."

In all of this we must daily be reminded what Zachariah said announcing the advent of Christ that he is "a mighty warrior" as was his forebear David. We are rightly the sons and daughters of the Church Militant awaiting the final reckoning described in Psalm 149, the next to the last Psalm of David in the Book of Psalms:

"Sing a new song to the Lord,
his praise in the assembly of the faithful.
Let Israel rejoice in its maker,
let Zion's sons exult in their king.
Let them praise his name with dancing
and make music with timbrel and harp.

For the Lord takes delight in his people.
He crowns the poor with salvation.
Let the faithful rejoice in their glory,
shout for joy and take their rest.
Let the praise of God be on their lips
and a two-edged sword in their hand,

to deal out vengeance to the nations
and punishment on all the peoples;
to bind their kings in chains
and their nobles in fetters of iron;
to carry out the sentence pre-ordained;
this honor is for all his faithful."

We were "honored", baptized and confirmed for this purpose. "If anyone wishes to come after me" Jesus said, "he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.".

( Luke 9:23 ). Let our daily crosses be our war against the culture of death, Saint John Paul II, fought against -- the dark stain on human life -- contraception, abortion and abandonment of spouses and children. These are sins against God and humanity. In our time too many of us are 'apologists of the wrong kind' who accommodate evil in our silences -- even among ourselves, our children, relatives, neighbors and co-workers.

Who today will be "a light to reveal [Christ] to the nations"?