My smart-phone provided a saving grace in the pre-dawn gloom on this, the last day of 2021.
Only emergency lights illuminated our sanctuary space as the regular crowd shuffled in for the early Mass – the “regular crowd”, as it happens, minus our typically faithful sacristan (whose task it is to turn on the lights) AND our (also-typically-faithful) parish priest.
So we sat in darkness for a time, waiting to see if these liturgical animators might yet arrive. And eventually, it occurred to me that the back-lit screen of my handy iPhone could provide all the illumination needed for spending a little prayer time with today’s readings.
Coincidence, then, that I found myself reflecting on these words from the Gospel of John in the shadowy sanctuary?
What came to be through [Christ] was life,
and this life was the light of the human race;
the light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.
I’d already noticed that light was especially tough to come by this morning – not only at church, but just about everywhere I looked: A dense fog enveloped the neighborhood, seeming to embolden and extend the winter solstice…our local climate conditions mirroring the mood set by news that the pandemic might be deepening, not abating, as most had hoped to close out the year.
Darkness, on this day – the last of 2021 – seemed at first to have the upper hand.
But then Wisdom made an unexpected appearance: A passage from the book of Wisdom, also read by the light of my iPhone…
Wisdom is mobile beyond all motion,
And she penetrates and pervades all things by reason of her purity.
For she is a breath of the might of God
And a pure emanation of the glory of the Almighty
Indeed, I found myself being blessed by the scripture I encountered in the shadow space of our sanctuary this morning. Something like a hopeful refrain welled up in my heart: “So, Omicron, where is your sting?” I thought to myself. “Notice how you pale in power compared to Christ, our Light – our Alpha and Omega.”
And thus out of this early morning’s shadows came a saving grace – my desire to wish all of you, Dear Readers, a most blessed and Happy New Year!
Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.