‘Look to the Lord and be radiant’ our Psalm invites (Psalm 34:5). For ‘God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life’ (John 3:16) The Gospel passage from John 3:16 explains the origin of Christian radiance.
To believe is to look to the Lord and welcome the radiance Paul calls ‘the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ’ (2 Corinthians 4:6)
‘The light has come into the world’ we read in today’s Gospel. Not a blinding light but one we can be bathed in through belief in Christ - or lose through turning ourselves away from the revelation of God in Jesus. It's a choice - once you see it - like the famous choice of prisoners: ‘Two men looked through prison bars, one saw mud and one saw stars’. Our choice, that of Christian faith, is to look up to the risen Lord and welcome his radiance! (Visual by Coaching 4 Life Ltd)
Easter season is a time for refreshing our gaze upon the Lord who lovingly shines upon us in the risen Lord Jesus Christ. His gaze towards us, with which we can engage day by day in prayer and sacrament, is a healing ray. It reaches into our cold heartedness as microwaves reach into frozen food. We need not avert his gaze, but confessing our unworthiness, hold ourselves to God with humility and determination.
God’s love spoken of in today’s Gospel is to be welcomed by each and every one of us. It is more than benevolence or good will but a reality linked to our coming into existence which would lay hold of us to bring us to our destiny with all the saints.
I come from God. I belong to God. I go to God. The Lord is my first beginning and my final end. This is the Christian revelation shown to us in the dying and rising of Jesus through which his Spirit is poured into hearts that welcome his love and leading.
How much we need that love! CS Lewis writes: ‘Our whole being… is one vast need; incomplete, preparatory, empty yet cluttered, crying out to him who can untie things that are now knotted together and tie up things that are still dangling loose’.
‘By love God is caught and held, by thinking never’ we read in the 14th century mystical book Cloud of Unknowing. When you pray, wrote 16th century Saint Teresa of Avila, be still and let God love you. See his smile and it will generate your own smile. God loves you with an enormous love and wants to look upon you with that same, generous love whilst awaiting your engagement.
‘God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not be lost but may have eternal life’. At the eucharist we repeatedly make a choice, an act of faith in our prayer, to take him at his word, look to him and welcome the radiance of Jesus in word and sacrament. So be it!