It is in St. John's Gospel that we have recorded a mini-Gospel, the healing of the blind man from birth, ch.9. Jesus sees a man who had been blind from birth and has never known light, only a world of darkness. By making clay as a creative act to give light from darkness, Christ is re-enacting His Father's act of creating light out of darkness. Christ anoints his eyes with this clay and sends him to wash in a pool whose name means "Sent". The man goes without hesitation, the same as Christ did when He came to earth when sent by the Father. After washing as commanded he found he could see. Jesus had dispersed his darkness. When questioned by the Jewish authority how one who had been blind could suddenly see, the healed man, in his reply cuts deeply into the reason for Christ being in the world, "All I know is this: I was blind and now I can see." Understanding that such a healing could only come from God, he wants to believe in the Son of Man, and being confronted with Jesus as such, he falls before Him as His Lord and Saviour. His response to the Light in seeking truth contrasts to the spiritual blindness of the Jewish authority as they reject Jesus. No wonder Christ declares after this whole episode, "It is for judgment that I come into this world - to give sight to the sightless and to make blind those who see." (Jn.9:39)
R. The Lord is my light and my salvation,
The Lord delivers us from darkness, R.
The Lord is the strength of my life. R.
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit. R.
In the act of creation in Genesis darkness means being devoid of light. This concept continued in Exodus when "the Lord went before [the Israelities] by day in a pillar of a cloud to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire to give them light; to go by day and night." Ex. 13.21. This "pillar of cloud" by day and "pillar of fire by night" continued to show the Hebrew children their way by light even through the wilderness. Neh.9.19
"Why is light given to one in misery? Why is light given to one who cannot see the way?" enquires Job in the misery and darkness of his soul through all his sufferings, Job 3.20,23. The Psalmist is clear that it is the Lord who "lights my lamp" and "lifts up my darkness". It is only "in your light that we see light." So the Psalmist prays, "O send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling." Surely then, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path", "whom then shall I fear?" [Ps.18.28, 36.9, 43.3, 119. 105, Ps.27.1]. Proverbs too enhances the Psalmist's teaching when he echoes " For the commandment is a lamp and the teaching a light" [6.23].
Response. In your light we shall see light.
L. Your word is a lantern to my feet. R.
L. Your word is a light upon our path. R.
L. Your commandment is a lamp. R.
Biblically darkness, as we have seen in the New Testament, become symbolic with evil deeds by those who rebelled against the light. "People loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed." But "light has come into the world" to judge! [John 3.19-21]. Long before Isaiah was denouncing those who "call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness." [Is.5.20] This same theme appears in Job, and especially by those who wait until the darkness of the day to commit such sins as theft and adultery. "There are those who rebel against the light, who are not acquainted with its ways, and do not stay in it paths. The murderer rises at dusk to kill the poor and needy, and in the night is like a thief. The eye of the adulterer also waits for the twilight, saying 'No eye will see me'; they do not know the light. For deep darkness is morning to all of them; for they are friends with the terrors of deep darkness" [Job. 24.13 -17].
Response: Help us dear Lord to walk in Your light.
L. In the darkness of our hearts. R.
L. In the darkness of our world. R.
L. In the darkness of selfishness. R.
Deutero- Isaiah urges us to "bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted; Then light shall rise for you in the darkness, and the gloom shall become for you like midday" (Isaiah 58:10). So Come, Sun of Justice!
We pray dear lord that we have our lanterns always burning to illuminate Your love within us so that we may give Your light to others. R. Lord hear our prayer.
We pray O most loving Saviour that as our lanterns burn for ever in your temple, that they may receive eternal light, to lighten our darkness and to protect us from the darknesses of the world. R.
We pray O blessed Jesu that you will so light our lanterns that we may ever see you, look on you, long for you; may we gaze with love on you alone, and have our lanterns shining and burning when You come on that Day of Judgment. R.
Grant us to walk always in Your light that we may be found waiting and watching when you come dear Lord to us as the Babe in a manger, and in glory and judgment for you are our light, the sun, the stars and the moon. May the Light of Christ go before each one of us; and may the God of infinite goodness scatter the darkness of sin and brighten our hearts with holiness. Amen.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father. (Matthew 5:14-16)
Reading - Prepare to meet your God, O Israel:
Him who formed the mountains, and created the wind, and declares to man his thoughts;
Who made the dawn and the darkness,
and strides upon the heights of the earth:
The LORD, the God of hosts by name. (Amos 4:12-13)
In the darkness of our hearts and of our world, We cry out until the dawn.
R. Come, Sun of Justice! (cf. Isaiah 38:13).
O house of Jacob, come,
R. Let us walk in the light of the Lord!
Reading Let us know, let us strive to know the LORD; as certain as the dawn is his coming: and his judgment shines forth like the light of day! He will come to us like the rain, like spring rain that waters the earth. (Hosea 6:3).
Depending whether this is used- either the Benedictus or Magnificat is said or sung.
The antiphon before or after:
Drive away all darkness so that we may see that we need that Light of Christ by which to live.
Grant us to walk always in that light that we may be found waiting and watching when you come dear Lord to us as the Babe in a manger, and in glory and judgment for you are our light, the sun, the stars and the moon. May the Light of Christ go before each one of us; and may the God of infinite goodness scatter the darkness of sin and brighten our hearts with holiness. Amen.