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Credo 13: ...light from light ...

Wednesday, July 11, 2007
When we recite the Creed on Sundays and Solemnities, we recall the fundamental tenets of our faith. But the truth that we profess with our lips is of little use unless it is expressed in our daily lives. The Creed states that Jesus is ‘Light from Light’. So how then should this affect the way we live? In the Gospel according to John, Jesus declares: "I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life" (John 8:12).

What does this mean, and how are we to respond? In the Gospel, light seems to be synonymous with life: so for Jesus to say that he is light is to say that he is a source of life to those who follow him. To follow Jesus is to walk in the light, to awaken to the reality of our Salvation which was won for us on the cross. Thus the revelation that God is light is an invitation which demands a response – it is an invitation to draw near to Jesus, to be close to him that we might discover what it is to walk in the light. This invitation is beautifully expressed in the painting by William Holman Hunt: Christ, the Light of the world knocks on the door, and stands waiting to be invited in.

It is tempting to contrast light and darkness. But darkness is the absence of light, and it is by light that we see. If we walk without the light, we stumble through life, lacking vision. However, to walk in the light requires that we learn to see Christ’s love and live by it, so that we may be transformed by it. Later in John’s Gospel, Jesus tells us how we are to live in this light, expressed clearly in the new Commandment: “love one another; even as I have loved you” (John 13:34). And this is something that we are called to do right here and right now. The invitation to walk with Christ is always open to us.

But why respond to Jesus? Who is this Jesus who claims to be the light of the world? The teaching that Jesus is ‘Light from Light’ shows us that Jesus is God made man, the one who makes known to us the God who is the source of light. God makes his light known to us through Christ as his gift to us; since he wants nothing more than that we may come into relationship with him, sharing in the Divine life.

Robert Gay OP


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