This week's Gospel included the most quoted line in all of Christendom: John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. But Father Ralph focused on lines that came after that: For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but He sent Him that the world might be saved by Him... This is the judgment, that though the Light has come into the world, yet men have loved darkness rather than the Light, for their works were wicked.
But nobody really wants to hear the Good News or the good news, do they? We really do prefer the darkness, don't we?
Open a newspaper, turn on the TV news, open a news webpage, and the headline will most likely be bad news. I just opened up CNN.com and the main headline was "Fourth Oakland officer dies after shootings." Every so often there's a story on the evening news that is uplifting and positive, but that is the exception rather than the rule. And any news editor will tell you they are giving the public what they want.
And we stop to look at car accidents, slowing to crane our necks to see what's happening. We can't take our eyes off the major bad news stories (consider the massive coverage of the tsunami and Hurricane Katrina a few years back), we remember where we were for major tragedies (individuals from previous generations remember exactly where they were when they found out JFK was shot, for some it's the Challenger disaster; do you remember where you were on September 11th?) It's all the negative things we remember and use to mark history.
So are we part of the problem? Are we so ready to condemn (or be condemned) that we don't allow ourselves to be open to be saved? I certainly don't have the answer, and am also guilty of looking at the bad rather than the good.
Maybe we can take a moment out of our lives, just a moment every day to part the positive, to point out the good, to encourage it, even. So what in your life today is good? What did you read in the paper, or see on TV that is positive? What today renews your faith in the goodness of people? Let's be part of the solution. Let's make that one small step to acknowledge the positive, encourage the good. It really is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness. It's spring, it's daylight savings time, it's the time of renewal, and dusting out the old cobwebs and starting fresh.
So light that candle, renew your life. Whether you are religious or not, it's worth a try to renew your spirit.