Formation

Saying ‘yes’ to Jesus will dispel our darkness

BY FATHER DENNIS HANNEMAN

In a wonderfully inspirational video entitled “Celebrate What’s Right with the World,” National Geographic photographer Dewitt Jones notes that he was raised with the adage, “I won’t believe it until I see it.” What he learned through his work as a photographer, however, was exactly the opposite: “I won’t see it until I believe it.”

Sometimes while on assignment he would come to an area and initially see nothing of value to photograph. But when he challenged himself to believe there was something magnificent for him to see, and if he was patient enough to keep looking for it, he always found an image not previously seen, often one more unique and beautiful than he could have ever imagined.

At times it can seem that only darkness appears to cover a “land of gloom.” Perhaps we don’t feel good, or the weather is cold and gray. Perhaps it’s tensions in our family relationships or problems at work or economic woes or just the state of our world. But as the prophet Isaiah promises, anguish and gloom can turn into “abundant joy and great rejoicing” if we have the eyes to look for it. And Jesus is the one who fulfills this promise.

Like Dewitt Jones, Jesus always seemed to be able to get beyond the external appearances to bring out the best someone had to offer. And through his knowledge of what was “right and best” in each person, they were healed. Jesus brought what was needed to fix what was wrong or broken.

Perhaps the “dis-ease” that needs the most curing among people today is that of disillusionment. Consistently bombarded by what’s wrong with our environment and ourselves, the energy needed to find what’s right is dissipated and the zeal to fix what’s broken depleted. We can no longer see the light in the midst of the gloom and darkness.

As people responded “yes” to Jesus’ call, he challenged them to see with new eyes and hear with new ears. He urged a change of heart that would mean focusing on a new way of looking at ourselves, our world, our relationships. Through the lens of Jesus’ teachings, words and actions, Isaiah’s prophecy was fulfilled: “A people in darkness have seen a great light.”