Pope Benedict once noted that at the beginning of time God said, “Let there be light,” and creation happened. Then on Easter, the Light of the world burst forth from the tomb and a new creation was inaugurated. Light figures dramatically in the Easter Vigil rituals. Enveloped in darkness, we hold tapers. Then the priest starts a new fire and lights the Christ candle. Its flame is shared from one taper to the next. Light gradually spreads over the church, and our faces are bathed in the glow of our tapers.
Light is intimately connected with life. In fact, it’s the source of life. Light makes plants grow, which feed animals and us, keeping us alive. Clevelanders, who are deprived of light for much of the year, rejoiced this week to finally see sunshine. It stimulates vitamin D in us and makes us happy! Light also enables us to see, and it makes all things beautiful. An American poet (I forgot who) observed that light even lends beauty to a corpse. Light of the World is certainly an apt name for Jesus. Like the sun that rises each day and keeps our planet and us in existence, this risen Son brings us life—an everlasting life.
Jesus dubbed us “the light of the world,” too. We are light when we bring about life, truth, and joy. Did you bring flowers or an Easter basket to a lonely person this Easter? You brought about life. Did you witness to “Jesus is risen” by sending an Easter card or going to Easter services? You brought about truth. Did you plan or participate in an Easter dinner or party? You brought about joy. Being light means radiating love. As the Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin wrote, “Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.”
When has someone been light for you this Easter?