God's Love & Power Failures
John 8:12–20 (alternative reading)
“Jesus spoke to them again, saying,
‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me
will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’ ”
It happened on November 9, 1965. The Great Blackout left more than 30 million people in the Northeast and Canada in the dark. I was only nine years old, but I remember the night and the feeling of suddenly being plunged into the dark. At first it was exciting and even fun. But as the novelty wore off and we tried to make supper and do the dishes while stumbling around in the dark, we missed the light we had taken for granted. People were stuck in elevators, trapped in stalled subway trains, and caught in traffic jams. It turned out that a single faulty relay in one power station had failed. That started a cascade effect as overloaded electrical lines gave out, spreading through the power grid like falling dominoes.
As bad as all that was, though, it was nothing compared to spiritual darkness. How many people stumble today in the darkness of unbelief? Jesus called himself the light of the world, assuring us that if we have faith in him, he will lead us safely through life. At times we can take the gift of faith and baptism for granted. Jesus can become for us almost like the light switch on the wall that we never think about until a power failure hits. Lent offers us the chance to renew our relationship with Jesus. Even if we forget about him at times, he always stays with us. Through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, our relationship with Jesus grows. Small things can have big effects, just as the faulty relay caused a major blackout. Four weeks of Lent have passed already. If our initial efforts have slackened a bit, these final two weeks offer a new chance to begin again. We will walk with Jesus along the road to his cross and resurrection. His grace will accompany us.
Jesus, thank you for being the light of my life. May I never take you for granted, but live in a spirit of gratitude for the truth that you teach us, the truth that makes us free. Help me to treasure every word in the Gospel and meditate on it day and night. Your word is “a lamp for my feet, a light for my path” (Ps 119:105). Help me to listen to the words you speak in the silence of my heart.
“I know where I came from and where I am going.”
Daughters of Saint Paul. (2008). Lenten Grace: Daily Gospel Reflections (pp. 92–93). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.