No Problem with the Lighting

(from the 2010 Magnificat Lenten Companion)

A while ago, another priest and I made a pilgrimage through Europe. In one city we entered a church to see if it were possible to concelebrate the parish Mass. It was late Saturday afternoon. The old church was pitch dark. A man inside saw us but didn't stop to talk. He was occupied. We could tell he didn't want to be bothered. The lights were not working and he didn't know how to fix them. It turned out that he was the pastor and the last thing he needed was to cater to two foreign priests who showed up unexpectedly. He allowed us to concelebrate the Mass with him. Yet, just as Mass was about to begin, he still expressed frustration over the situation. So I took a chance and reminded him that there was no problem with the lighting. "Christ is the light," I reminded him. For Jesus said, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." I was afraid he would think I was trying to be funny. Instead his demeanor changed. He turned serene. He remembered the reason we celebrate the Eucharist - for Jesus, the light of the world, sheds light in the darkness. As Lent ends, let us recall the reasons we took up our penitential practices.

Reflection based on John 8:12-20
Father Michael Nolan

Gracious Father, help me to prepare well
the next time I go to Mass.

Today's suggested penance: Do something constructive to rescue someone ensnared in sin.