Wednesday of the Second Week of Easter
Acts 5:17-26 + John 3:16-21
April 22, 2020
But whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.
Today’s Gospel passage tells us neither of Jesus preaching nor of Jesus acting. Instead, in this passage St. John the Evangelist offers spiritual commentary on the Christian life. More specifically, the evangelist describes what it means for the Christian’s works to be rooted in Christ, so deeply in fact that it is Christ who acts through the Christian. To do so, he uses the simple metaphor of light, but in two ways.
On the one hand, to offer a contrast, the evangelist speaks in terms of sinful actions. He notes that “everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come toward the light”. Clearly, the evangelist is using light as a metaphor for truth. In common English, when we say that someone fears his actions “coming to light”, we mean that someone fears the truth of his actions becoming known. Along this line, the evangelist explains that the sinner “does not come toward the light” so that his actions will not become known. Adam and Eve, after committing the Original Sin, exemplify what the evangelist means here.
On the other hand, the evangelist also refers to the good works done by a Christian: that is, works done in accord with the will of God the Father, whom St. James in his epistle calls “the Father of lights” [James 1:17]. In the last sentence of today’s Gospel passage, the evangelist notes that “whoever lives the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be clearly seen as done in God.”
So how does what the evangelist says about morality shed light on the whole of the spiritual life? Consider that, to the Romans, Jesus’ crucifixion was punishment for threatening their rule. To the Jews, Jesus’ crucifixion was ironic justice for a man who claimed to be their Messiah. But the Beloved Disciple—the only apostle and evangelist to stand at the foot of the Cross—saw infinitely more in the Crucifixion. He saw light in the darkness of Calvary. So in turn, each of us needs to see light in the darkness of our sins: each night when we make an examination of conscience, and in the pew at church before entering the confessional. That light is Jesus’ Divine Mercy, which poured forth from the side of Jesus on the Cross.