Christ is risen! On this Apodosis (Leavetaking) of Pascha, may God grant us faithful hearts until next Pascha!
Stumbling around in the dark isn’t just a problem for me when I’m looking for a midnight snack (as if I really needed that!), but is a perfect metaphor for my life lived without the Light and wisdom of the faith to protect me from bad choices and missed opportunities in my life!
As a matter of awareness, I listen to the Top 50 popular songs every week to see what my folks are exposed to in their daily lives. Even though I usually feel like I need a shower after this work, I am amazed at the confusion and the shortsightedness of most of popular music. “I knew my rent was gon be late about a week ago…” “Cause I’m a nightmare dressed as a daydream…” and other lyrics so very popular nowadays reflects not only the lostness of the young, but the distractedness of we adults who create the world our children live in! While it may be popular to blame those “crazy kids” it isn’t right. Why do we expect our young people to suddenly be wise enough to avoid mistakes and shortsighted choices when we have failed to direct, train, and lead by example in front of them? Our children are our responsibility, and they live in the world we made for them.
Stumbling through life in the dark is a self-inflicted reality, especially since it is wholly unnecessary, because the Light has come, and He hasn’t been hard to find as much as we haven’t been looking!
Look at our Gospel Lesson today on this Leavetaking of Pascha and the preparation day for the Feast of the Ascension in John 12:36-47:
The Lord said to the Jews who came to him, “While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light. When Jesus had said this, he departed and hid himself from them. Though he had done so many signs before them, yet they did not believe in him; it was that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “Lord, who has believed our report, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” Therefore they could not believe. For Isaiah again said, “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they should see with their eyes and perceive with their heart, and turn for me to heal them.” Isaiah said this because he saw his glory and spoke of him. Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.
And Jesus cried out and said, “He who believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And he who sees me sees him who sent me. I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. If any one hears my sayings and does not keep them, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world.”
This Light isn’t a set of philosophical ideas. This Light isn’t some record of rules and regulations of moralistic duty. This Light isn’t even a religion. This Light is a Person, and this Person has come to reconnect us to the Father in such a way that our entire life is filled with clarity, purpose, and direction. Philosophy didn’t bring people to Christ. The religion of the day actually turned most of the religious leaders against Christ. And all the rule keeping in the world still didn’t make the Pharisees followers of the Lord. But even so, some did follow, but their fear made them silent. By the way, does your fear make you silent?
Today, as we leave Pascha and enter into the powerful season of the Ascension, the Light that makes sense and strengthens and heals is here. He calls us to Himself at each liturgy when the priest cries out “With Faith and with Love, Draw NEAR!” His Light is His life embraced, accepted, and faithfully practiced by those who are tired of stumbling through life. And those people become lights themselves as they reflect His Light to all around them. Are you one of those people? Does the Light protect you from stumbles? Are you able to lovingly assist those who are stumbling by offering them the Light that makes you free? What could you possibly ever accomplish in life more significant that that? It’s time to allow the Resurrection of Jesus to so permeate your daily life that you become a light for all around you. It’s time to be Orthodox on Purpose!