Prepare for Sunday Mass: 'You are the light of the world'

Each week in OSV Newsweekly, Carl Olson provides a thoughtful, relevant reflection on the Mass readings for Sunday in his "Opening the Word" column. The following is just an excerpt, but you can read the entire column here.

From Carl Olson:

Take a moment and make an inventory of every light you might use or benefit from in the course of a week: room lights, headlights, lamps, porch lights, street lights and even flashlights. And that’s not counting the light from televisions, computer monitors, tablets, smartphones and other devices.

Now imagine living in ancient Israel without electricity. In such a world, it was difficult, if not impossible, to take light for granted. Scripture is filled with references to light. “The Bible,” states the “Dictionary of Biblical Imagery” (InterVarsity Press, $50), “is enveloped by the imagery of light, both literally and figuratively.” The first reference is found at the very beginning, in the opening verses of Genesis: “Then God said, ‘Let there be light,’ and there was light. God saw how good the light was. God then separated the light from the darkness” (Gn 1:3-4). This reference to physical light also serves as a rich metaphor and description of God’s presence, life and love. The last chapter of the Bible states, “Night will be no more, nor will they need light from lamp or sun, for the Lord God shall give them light, and they shall reign forever and ever” (Rv 22:5).

Between the first and last chapters of the Bible are numerous descriptions of light, such as the promise of “a great light” described by the prophet Isaiah. The realization of that promise is expressed in cosmic terms in the prologue to the Gospel of John, in describing the Word who became man and dwelt among us: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. … The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world” (Jn 1:5, 9).

Read Olson's entire column to prepare for Sunday Mass.

Jennifer Rey is the web editor of Our Sunday Visitor Publishing.