Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.” Then the Pharisees said to him, “You are testifying on your own behalf; your testimony is not valid.” Jesus answered, “Even if I testify on my own behalf, my testimony is valid because I know where I have come from and where I am going, but you do not know where I come from or where I am going.
You judge by human standards; I judge no one. Yet even if I do judge, my judgment is valid; for it is not I alone who judge, but I and the Father who sent me. In your law it is written that the testimony of two witnesses is valid. I testify on my own behalf, and the Father who sent me testifies on my behalf.”
Then they said to him, “Where is your Father?” Jesus answered, “You know neither me nor my Father. If you knew me, you would know my Father also.” He spoke these words while he was teaching in the treasury of the temple, but no one arrested him, because his hour had not yet come.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
“I am the light of the world.” This familiar statement conjures up for me many comforting associations with light– it guides us, and promotes growth and life. I think of lighting a candle, watching the sun rise, appreciating a rainbow. What a lovely analogy! Light is comforting and familiar, and yet, we don’t fully grasp how it works. The nature of light is a fascinating mystery, a seeming contradiction.
Scientists have long questioned whether light is made up of particles or waves. Decades of investigation have shown that light is… both! It behaves like waves, overlapping and interfering with each other, and it behaves like particles, colliding and transferring energy like tiny billiard balls. How can this be? Is it possible that our senses and methods of measurement are inadequate to fully describe light? Or will further testing help to untangle the dual nature of light?
In a few weeks, at the Easter Vigil Mass, we will light the Paschal Candle, filling the church with light of Christ. May this beautiful mystery, as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin writes, “force us to go ever further in our pursuit of truth.”
Blessed be you, mighty matter,
You who by constantly shattering our mental categories,
Force us to go ever further in our pursuit of truth.
Blessed be you, universal energy,
Immeasurable time, boundless other,
Abyss of starts and atoms and generations;
You, who by overflowing and dissolving our narrow standards or measurements,
reveal to us the dimensions of God.
Raise me up then, matter,
To those heights through struggle and separation and death;
Raise me up until at long last it becomes possible for me
To embrace the universe.
—Adapted from Hymn to Matter by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, SJ