Tuesday, December 27, 2016

She Would Not be Consoled

God is light, and in him there is no darkness at all. If we say, “We have fellowship with him,” while we continue to walk in darkness, we lie and do not act in truth. But if we walk in the light as he is in the light, then we have fellowship with one another, and the Blood of his Son Jesus cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:5-7

When Herod realized that he had been deceived by the magi, he became furious. He ordered the massacre of all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had ascertained from the magi. Then was fulfilled what had been said through Jeremiah the prophet: A voice was heard in Ramah, sobbing and loud lamentation; Rachel weeping for her children, and she would not be consoled, since they were no more.  (Matthew 2:16-18)

Awake from your slumber! Arise from your sleep!
A new day is dawning for all those who weep.
The people in darkness have seen a great light.
The Lord of our longing has conquered the night.

Refrain: Let us build the city of God.
May our tears be turned into dancing!
For the Lord, our light and our Love,
has turned the night into day!

The mere presence of Jesus on earth begins to bring forth hostility long before he preaches a single word.  Although God sent His son into the world, from the first breath of the baby in the Bethlehem, there were two visceral reactions.  First, there are people drawn to him.  Angels.  Shepherds.  Magi.  But, there also are people opposed to his very words, actions, and presence.  Herod.  Pharisees.  Scribes.  Judas.

In our first reading, the allegorical “Light” is to be understood here as truth and goodness; darkness here is error and depravity. The notes in the New American Bible remind us that “to walk in light or darkness is to live according to truth or error, not merely intellectual but moral as well. Fellowship with God and with one another consists in a life according to the truth as found in God and in Christ.”

Because the presence of Jesus commands us to come out of the darkness of our comfort zone, many are threatened by the promises of the Magnificat. 

Never was there a more corrupt depiction of a two-faced person saying they want to walk in the light while remaining connected to darkness than King Herod in today’s Gospel.  Herod reigned from 37 to 4 B.C. (and he is different from his successor Herod Antipas – the Tetrarch – who condemned John the Baptist and Jesus to death.)

At King Herod’s order, we learn of the first attempt to remove Jesus physically from the world.  While ultimately, we know that the physical separation will occur, the impossible task is to remove his light and spirit.  One might succeed for a little while, but eventually, the Son/sun will come out. The Light cannot be kept under a bushel. 

Followers of Jesus have an absolute duty to live in the light and resist the temptation to retreat back into darkness.

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth. Try to learn what is pleasing to the Lord. Take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them, for it is shameful even to mention the things done by them in secret; but everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for everything that becomes visible is light.  (Ephesians 5:8-14)

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