A Note From Father Eickhoff

March 19, 2023

Today’s Second Reading is taken from St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians.  It is worth quoting the opening line taken from Ephesians 5 verse 8 before continuing onward:

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord.  Live as children of light.”

Notice that the line does not read “you were once in darkness, but now you are in the light of the Lord.  Live as children of the light.”  (Yes, I used both bold and underline to bring out the changes).  The differences might seem to be unimportant, but that would be wrong.  The differences are crucial to understanding how we interact with God and whether we are changed by God.

In a few short weeks we Christians will be celebrating Holy Week and Easter.  Those great days in which Jesus Christ suffered, died, and rose from the dead.  During those days, Jesus accomplished the work of our salvation in which our sins are forgiven, and we are united with God forever.  But how is our salvation accomplished?  Are we moved from one situation (that is alienation from God) to another (that is union with God) by fiat?  Are we internally changed by our salvation?  These questions can have profoundly different answers with dramatically different consequences for who we are in Christ.

Recall the opening line of today’s Second Reading.  We were not in darkness, instead we were darkness. Darkness was not some place that we were stuck in, but a part of who we were before Christ.  Through Christ’s saving action upon the cross we are not simply moved from darkness to light.  Rather, we have become light.  Our very nature has been changed by Jesus Christ.  We have been and continue to be transformed by the action of God to be more like Him who is light.  Truly, this is a marvelous transformation that goes far beyond simply moving us from darkness to light but leaving us as we were before Jesus Christ died and rose again for us.

Finally, we must recognize and give thanks to God for this transformation of our very being.  The very best way to carry out this act of thanks to God is to live according to the teaching of God.  When we do so, we are cooperating with God in remaking us in His image.  Recall that God earnestly desires us to be united with Him, but He always respects the human will.  Living as children of light is an act of the human will that demonstrates that we want to be transformed by God.

One final note:

Saturday, March 25 is the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord.  It is not a Holy Day of Obligation. However, there will be a Mass at 8am in the church that morning in honor of the solemnity.

Yours in Christ,

Fr. Stephen Eickhoff