1st June 2012

No Third Option

It’s exam time for many students. I remember the pressure and tension that would mount up in the weeks before my finals as I sought to understand what I was studying – and of course remember it all.

Yet there is a deeper quest for  understanding that every human being, consciously or unconsciously, seeks: the meaning of one’s life, the ‘why’ of life. We have come up with loads of answers. Just ask someone to define the purpose and meaning of life and you will invariably find one or more of these assertions: to make money, to enjoy oneself, to get married and have children, to be self-fulfilled, to be successful in career, to revel in pleasure. The real problem with this list of the possible ‘meanings of life’ is that in and of themselves they fail to satisfy . Why? because they are not the essential and ultimate purpose for being here on this planet.

Jesus says “I am the Light of the word”  (John 8:12). He doesn’t say that He is one of the “many lights”, He says that He is the Light. The absence of light is darkness. This is why He asserts I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness” ( John 12:46).

So ultimately I either discover the meaning of my life in the light of the truth of the gospel and try by God’s grace to live my life in that light – or I will live in darkness. And what does this light show us? That we have been created to know God and His love and to love Him back. We cannot be reconciled to God except through Jesus and we have been saved to be made holy, to be renewed and to be transformed as beloved sons and daughters of God. That our ultimate destination is heaven if we persevere.

So have I invited Jesus to be my personal Lord and Saviour, to forgive my sins and to fill me with his Holy Spirit? If I have, do I maintain that relationship through prayer, Scripture, the Sacraments, service and so on? And when it comes to the important decisions of my life do I seek his light or does the darkness of the ways of the world cast shadows upon me.

“Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life” (John 8:12). There is no third option. There is no other light.