March 18, 2018
John 8: 1-12
Halfway through his life, the poet Dante finds himself in a dark forest, not quite knowing how he got there. He is threatened by three beasts who impede his path. In his despair, he appeals to one who guides him further along his way by offering to take him along another path.
We too, sometimes find ourselves ‘in a dark wood’, not quite knowing how we got there, lost and imperiled. If someone were to approach and judge us, criticize us for being hopelessly lost, it would not help—we already know that. What we need is a guide who takes us under his care and shows us another path, a way through.
Christ did not come to earth to pronounce judgment on human lives. By becoming human, he came to understand the human condition from the inside. He came to offer his strength, his clarity, his guidance. He can extend our clouded vision. He can help us recognize that we need to take another path, go in another direction. To the soul who had adulterated her true life’s path, he said, ‘Go. Go elsewhere; walk another path that does not send you to the beasts’.
For us too, Christ appears in our extreme need. He comes to give life’s light to us. Christ is here as a guide. He is here as light along the path in the darkness in which we all walk. In the words of Hafiz:
into every cup,
The proudly pious
stuff their cups with parchment
and critique the taste of ink
while God pours light
. . .
pours like rain
into every empty cup
set adrift on the Infinite Ocean.*