This liturgy is the celebration of the victory of light over darkness, truth over lies, integrity over sin, good over evil.
Lent began with the temptation in the desert. We saw in our reflection on that account that Satan is not some abstract power that occasionally visits some hapless soul from time to time. Rather, it is a power within each of us, who tempts us to give up who we are in the image and likeness of God. It is the power that causes us to miss the point, knocks us off course in our lives by telling us we have no value in the core of our being. Because we believe what it says to us, it tricks us into not doing that which we will to do and to do that which we don’t want.
The law of the Power of Darkness states: The only way to salvation, i.e. the only way to a sense of Self-worth, is to trick others into loving you is through their acceptance and approval. The way you do that is to do and become whatever I tell you the other wants of you so they will like you. Any mistake you might make will alienate you from the love and approval of the other which is your damnation. So no mistakes are allowed.
Jesus, on the other hand, didn’t seem to be too concerned about mistake making. On the third Sunday in Lent, we stood with Jesus meeting the Samaritan woman who was married five times and was living with a sixth man who was not her husband. Certainly there are many mistakes there. Similarly there are other stories of Jesus with mistake makers, sinners as in Zaccheus the tax collector, the woman caught in adultery as well as the story of the prodigal son. Likewise, in the story of the restoring of the sight of the man blind from birth, Jesus reassures the disciples that his blindness is not a result of the man’s or his parents’ sin, but rather his blindness was to show forth the works of God in him. In other words, all people are the object of God’s love, regardless of whether we possess all our faculties and in spite of our mistakes, bad choices and even our meanness.
It was Jesus’ at easiness with our limitedness, our capacity to make bad choices, our meanness and “sin-filled-ness” that outrages the religious leaders who opposed him. Because of that opposition, they represent the Power of Darkness that undermines our ability to love our imaged likeness in God. As that Power, it was these men who connived the murder of Jesus on the Cross.
Through Baptism, we die, as Jesus did, to the apparent absolute power the Dark One exercises over us. Instead of death, however, we are brought to a resurrection in spirit because through Jesus the Christ’s rising from the Dead, the absolute power of the Dark One has been broken forever. Our personal participation in the Resurrection is witnessed in the raising of Lazarus as one of us from the dead.
With the Resurrection and Baptism that flows out of it, we have tonight the birth of the Church, which represents and is the presence of the Incarnate God in the here and now. As members of the Church, the Body of Christ, we are here t help each other in the daily journey of our struggles against the Power of Darkness toward the resurrection. Just as we are sisters and brothers in Christ, so too are we godparents to each other in our Baptism. As godparents, it is our responsibility to provide for each other a nurturing environment by being compassionate, caring, listening, encouraging as well as challenging and questioning when someone might be off-track without being overbearing or taking over.
Finally, during this Lenten journey, we were reminded of Jesus’ Transfiguration: “This is my Son in whom I am well pleases.” Our raiment too can be as “white as snow” if we allow that we are pleasing to God as the adoptive daughters and sons of God. So let’s believe and live it! And let’s support each other as our brothers and sisters in the Lord struggle to die to the Power of Darkness and live in the Kingdom of Light.