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Prefer the Light to the Darkness

Epiphany is the celebration of the festival of lights. One of the opening lines in John’s Gospel reads: “The light came into the world, but people preferred the darkness over the light.” Why would anyone choose darkness over light? People prefer darkness when they have something to hide. No one wants to open up the internet and see “Breaking news” with a list of their sins. Anyone who has something that they do not want on the front page of the newspaper prefers darkness over the light.

When I entered the seminary, I dreamed that in my lifetime, all Christians denominations would be united. Every one of us would bend knees together and proclaim with our tongues that Christ is Lord. This was St. Paul’s dream when he was in a Roman prison. He told his vision to the Philippians. That is what will happen when we Christians live up to our fullest potential and realize our calling. It is a great dream, but we are so far from the dream. Next month the bishops and cardinals meet in Rome to discuss how to prevent leaders (priest, bishops and cardinals) from abusing children. We are so far from the dream. And the reason is this. For years, leaders, pastors, bishops, and cardinals preferred the darkness to the light. All of these years there was something to hide. True, we are disappointed, but where does this leave us?

Whenever a sports team falls to hard times, when the team records no wins and every game is a loss, there are always a few scattered fans in the stands. The reason they are there is because they know. They know that there are some outstanding players on the field who are giving everything they have. They know that they are so bad that they will have the best draft picks. They know that they are so awful, that they will attract a talented young coach who wants to win and is up for the challenge. They know that someday everyone will be jumping in front of their TV screens when the team wins the Super Bowl and that everybody will show up at the victory parade. But the die-hards are the ones that get the team through the hard times because they did not hide when things get hard. They are the ones that faced the difficulties head-on and embraced the challenge. Die-hards do not run away.

We are the die-hards. The world may look at us and say “losers.” If we hear it enough, we may even believe it. But remember what Paul told the die-hards and losers of the Roman Empire in Philippi. He said to them that they are the stars that shine in the dark. Because they basked in the light when the light came into the world, they do not hide or run.

It is inevitable. God will be victorious, and everyone will be at the party on that day. Epiphany is the feast day for die-hards because the never quit, hide, or run. This is our feast day to remind us never to give up because we have the light.

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