In a 1958 play by Archibald Macleish – which is a modern day re-telling of the story of the Biblical figure Job --- Job is broken by all the terrible things that have happened in his life.
Turning to his wife, Sarah, for some comfort and advice when he admits it is just “too dark to see” – Sarah turns, pulls Job’s head down between her hands, kisses him --- and says:
“If it is too dark to see ---- then you must blow on the coal of your heart, my darling.
For the candles in churches go out – and even the sun sets and the sky grows dark.
But blow on the coal of your heart – and we won’t lose the light – and we will see by and by.”
Throughout this Lenten season we have been talking about light and darkness. We have admitted that many of us have been in a dark tunnel because of the personal pains and hurts and disappointments we carry from our own past – and carry from the collective past of this faith community of St. Patrick.
It’s time for us all to put the past behind, to come out of the dark tunnel and into the bright light of Jesus Christ. . .
We are almost there – but this week still holds a lot of darkness, although we have glimmers of light.
As we heard at the beginning of this Mass – there is the light of the crowd shouting:
“Hosanna to the Son of David: blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Hosanna in the highest.”
But --- then there is the darkness of the crowds in Pilate’s courtyard we heard in the Passion, who shout: “Give us Barabbas”– And then Pilate asks them: “and what shall I do with Jesus called the Christ”?” And they shout: “Crucify him!”
Near the end of today’s Passion Reading – we had the light of the faith of the centurion at the cross saying: “truly this was the son of God” ---- and those who knew Jesus the best in his life, the apostles, hiding in the darkness of fear-- somewhere far from the cross.
In Wednesday’s Gospel we will hear of the darkness of the hands of Judas as he reaches them out to receive 30 pieces of silver to betray Jesus.
And on Holy Thursday we will see the light of the serving hands of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples as he says: “what you have seen me do – you must do for one another.”
But in Wednesday’s Gospel hear of the darkness of the hands of Judas as he reaches them out to receive 30 pieces of silver to betray Jesus.
As we read the Passion of John on Good Friday, we will hear of the light of fidelity of three Mary’s standing at the foot of the cross with Jesus’ beloved disciple – and the darkness of shame as Peter denies knowing Jesus three times.
We have the light of discipleship when Joseph of Arimathea asks Pilate for the body of Jesus to bury --- and the darkness of NOT ONE of the apostles there to help.
At the end of the Passion on Good Friday – we have Jesus placed in the darkness of the tomb where he will stay until the cries of “Christ our Light” of the Easter Vigil announces that nothing is impossible with God: God can conquer sin and God can even conquer death itself.
And throughout this week --- where do we stand?
Completely --- and comfortably --in the dark?
Or in the dark blowing on the coals of our hearts with the hope of the light to come?
Or do we boldly stand in the light – cursing the darkness?
Perhaps there are two quotes that can keep us focused during this coming Week we call Holy:
First, to remember that it is said the darkest hour of night – is just before the dawn.
And second: when the world around you is cast into darkness --- choose to be the light!
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