Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Preferring darkness to light

Today's gospel says the people preferred darkness to light. It's an interesting use of the light and dark because normally humans fear the dark and are biologically wired to need and want light. The reading explains this reversal by saying that they did this "because their works were evil."

This takes to a much deeper point. How do we understand basic human nature? Human nature from the Catholic perspective was created, as Genesis said, "very good." We are created to be, as it were, children of the light.

For us original sin did not destroy that goodness. In the words of the Catechism:

...human nature has not been totally corrupted: it is wounded in the natural powers proper to it, subject to ignorance, suffering and the dominion of death, and inclined to sin - an inclination to evil that is called concupiscence."

In John's gospel we hear today not that they were evil, but that their works were evil, a significant distinction.

Original sin may have wounded us, but Christ's death and resurrection heals that wound. Original sin may have created in us an inclination to sin, but Christ has set us free. Christ restores the true natural order of things. Humans as God intended us to be.

Why is this so critical? Because I believe we live up to, or down to, the expectation. If we are told we are bad, if we believe deep down we are bad, we will do bad.

We baptize our children as soon as possible after they are born. It is then our responsibility to raise them to understand who they are because of that grace. But before we can teach it to the young people we have to believe it about ourselves.

We are the children of light. In the deepest part of your heart do you belief that?