Jn 11:1-45 – 5th Sunday of Lent, 25 March 2012, Sacred Heart Cathedral

St. John is a master in the use of contrasts: day and night, light and darkness, this world and the next world, truth and falsehood, etc. He is also well known for injecting a higher and deeper meaning to ordinary things. Let us take an example. In Jn 13:30, he writes, “So, after receiving the morsel, he (Judas) immediately went out; and it was night.” Night has the ordinary meaning of darkness but St. John injects into it another meaning. Darkness or night is compared to evil. When Judas went to betray Jesus, evil (night) took over and Jesus was led to His passion and crucifixion – the work of evil.

Here, in the Gospel reading, there are actually 3 sections: Jesus’ trip to Bethany, Jesus’ conversation with Martha and Mary and the raising of Lazarus, we see the great master writer, St. John, at work. At the very beginning of the Gospel according to St. John, Jesus Christ was compared to the light who “was coming to the world” and “the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it.” Jn 1:5. John develops this theme ending with darkness, evil, trying to conquer light, Jesus Christ, but failed in the end, because Jesus made use of the very evil – being murdered by the Jewish leaders – to save the world. Light has conquered darkness. The raising of Lazarus points to Jesus’ own resurrection. Just as he gives life to Lazarus, Jesus’ resurrection is to give us life.

So, here in verse 10 of today’s Gospel reading, when John says, “But if one walks at night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him…,” Jesus was referring to people, who walk in darkness but have Jesus (the light) in them, will not stumble. Like Jesus, they will overcome evil. Those of us, therefore, who have Jesus in us need not fear any evil because Jesus in us will conquer evil.

In our daily lives, we meet with a lot of evil. First, the evil that comes from ourselves when we do what is wrong. Second, the evil that comes from other people who harm us by their bad deeds. Yet, Jesus assures us that if we have Him in us, He will finally conquer evil coming from us or from others. He brings good out of evil as He did on the cross.

St. John equates love with light. Love, who is God, (1 Jn 4:8,16), made manifest in Jesus Christ, will triumph over every evil. If we have light or love of God in us, God lives in us (1 Jn 4:16) and He in us will conquer evil. St. Paul in his letter to the Romans chapter 8, verse 28, says that God, Jesus Christ, will work out everything for the good of those who love Him. ”Fear not then for as St. John says, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear…” (1 Jn 4:18)

Our preparation to celebrate the Pasqual Mystery is a celebration of how love conquers all fear and evil.