In the middle of our church, right next to the baptismal font, there is a very special candle. It is called the Pascal Candle, better known as the Easter Candle. It is blessed by our pastor at the Easter Vigil Mass and it represents Christ as the light of the world.
When we baptize a child the priest or the deacon will take the child’s baptismal candle, light it from the Easter Candle, and hand it to the godparents. They in turn will take the baptismal candle and stand next to the child. This is very symbolic. It represents the responsibility of the godparents to carry the light of Christ to the newly baptized child, and to help keep that light burning brightly throughout the child’s life.
In a broader sense the Easter Candle is also symbolic of our own job, the job of every disciple of Jesus, every Christian across the globe and down through history. We are called to be godparents for our world, to carry the light of Christ and dispel the darkness wherever we go.
The readings for January 26th, the third Sunday in Ordinary Time, speak to us about Christ as the light of the world and our own individual call to dispel the darkness.
In the first reading, the prophet Isaiah tells us how the people of Northern Israel were enveloped by great darkness in the 8th century B.C. Their land and their homes were destroyed by the Assyrian Empire, and they were taken away as slaves. But Isaiah promised that a great light would come to dispel the darkness. That light came in the person of Jesus. He began his ministry almost 800 years later in the very same region of Northern Israel where the darkness had struck. Jesus was the great light foretold by Isaiah. Christ is the light of the world.
In the gospel that light calls the first disciples, the first Christians, Peter, Andrew, James and John to help dispel the darkness for the whole world and for all time. It later called St. Paul and the people of Corinth that he wrote to in the second reading. That light is still calling. It calls every one of us.
God has planted each of us somewhere in the garden of time and space. Wherever we are in that garden, we are meant to be instruments of God’s healing and love.
Each time we go into our church, let us look at the Easter Candle and remember: we have been called to be godparents for our world; we have been called to carry the light of Christ; we have been called to dispel the darkness wherever we go.
Readers of this blog might enjoy these books by Deacon Lex. Both are available on Amazon.com:
Just to Follow My Friend: Experiencing God’s Presence in Everyday Life
Synchronicity as the Work of the Holy Spirit: Jungian Insights for Spiritual Direction and Pastoral Ministry