March 10, 4th Sunday of Lent, Darkness and Light: a Sunday Scriptures blog

In our Cycle B, today’s Gospel is John 3:14-21. For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son. … the light came into the world, but people preferred darkness to light … for everyone who does wicked things hates the light … but whoever lives the truth comes to the light… .” Elementary school children already have experienced the difference between good and evil, between the darkness and the light described in this Scripture. In Scripture as a whole, it is clear that God abhors evil, judges it and condemns it. During Lent we see Jesus battling against evil, first in his desert experience of temptation, then in the way he casts out demons, the powers of darkness. We see it as he condemns the way hypocritical representatives of Judaism place undue burdens on their people. We see Jesus battling the power of evil as he struggles in the Garden to continue doing his Father’s will, even though it will destroy him. We see the battle between good and evil symbolized in the rending of the temple curtain and the other powerful signs that happened at Jesus’ death, and in God’s victory over evil as Jesus rose from the dead. So of course, we who are images of God must recognize evil, resist it and try to defeat it. When evil happens, because “people preferred darkness to light,” God’s role is to bring the greatest possible good from it, as God did in raising Jesus and unleashing the Spirit from which the Church was born. What about when we ourselves act from malice (evil)? Then the good God offers us the grace to turn from sin, and hopefully by reflecting on our failure, we grow in wisdom. When evil is embedded in systems, resulting in things like climate change, racism or wealth inequity, the Spirit moves the hearts of multitudes of people to resist and act. Learning to discern the evil that hides in the complexities of modern life, and resist it, requires prayer and patient discernment with others. And most of all, it requires our firm belief in the powerful help of the Unparalleled Good we call our God, who is victorious over Evil.

— Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia

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