Fr Noel's Homilies

Buzzword - Darkness
All readings today concern themselves with the problem of spiritual darkness and how to transform it.

Samuel - 16: 1, 6-7, 10-13
For the Israelites who had abandoned their spiritual destiny, the anointing of David provided them with a source of inspiration and established a lineage from which the Ultimate Source of Inspiration, Christ, would derive.

Ephesians - 5: 8-14
For Paul, baptism, no less than David's anointing, enables a person to pass from darkness to spiritual enlightenment.

John 9:1-41
And the gospel emphasises Christ's claim to be the Light of the World; in him all spiritual darkness can be overcome just as the man born blind was freed from his affliction.

Point 1:‚  Most people find physical darkness kind of spooky. Sounds which, if heard in the daytime and have no particular significance, when heard at night send a chill up and down one's spine! It is a common experience for us, in the dark, to stumble on paths that are completely familiar to us at other times. Spiritual darkness, too, has its downside. Such darkness, of which the Scriptures frequently speak , causes even greater uncertainty for people than does physical darkness. When afflicted by such darkness, people not only stumble as they try to progress towards their eternal destiny; they frequently loose sight of the goal for which they have been destined from all eternity - eternal union with the Author of Life.

Point 2: There are many symptoms visible in present day society of this spiritual darkness:- Hedonism, secularism and humanism are at worrying levels in our society. Classic examples of this are evident in the public's ready acceptance of "so-called" reality TV programmes, not to mention the quality of modern music and lyrics! The proliferation of drug consumption and its consequent climate of violence all point to the fact that, for many, the words of the Book of Proverbs still ring true - [Prov 4:19] The way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what they stumble over. Surely, one does not have to wear a blindfold in order to have a good time.

Point 3: And there is no doubt that many feel insecure in today's modern society. This insecurity can be seen in the "garrison "mentality evident in the way people need to lock up everything - car, homes, retirement villas and housing estates that resemble prisons minus the razor wire. And this sense of insecurity is being compounded by a a real sense of frustration by many. Letters to the editor regularly complain of the corruption so evident at high levels of society as people in their hundreds, even thousands, are defrauded of their hard-earned savings. With dismay, we read of immoral clergy and of judges who appear to have forgotten the age old principle that "Law does not exist without appropriate sanction". This is not to argue that the solution lies in a return to the "cat-of-nine tails"; or that a greater presence of police will provide a solution. But, a wider acceptance of moral enlightenment would help considerably, from whatever source that enlightenment may come. Religion, through the centuries, has been a powerful agent in developing moral codes, but not the only source of inspiration; and, be it admitted, sometimes not even the best as corruption and violence became its public image.

Conclusion: Our thoughts today are intended to help us to be free of this malaise of spiritual darkness. Maybe it will help if we recognise that light will not penetrate blacked-out windows. It only penetrates in proportion to the clearness of the glass through which it is to shine. We are the glass through which Christ's light is to shine, and our attitudes, based on our sense of commitment, determine whether it is blacked out, smudged or crystal clear.

Scriptural reference: Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life." [John 8:12]