“I was going to Damascus, armed with full powers and a commission from the chief priests, and at midday as I was on my way, I saw a light brighter than the sun come down from heaven. It shone brilliantly round me and my fellow travellers. We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Hebrew, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for you, kicking like this against the goad.’ Then I said: Who are you, Lord? And the Lord answered, ‘I am Jesus, and you are persecuting me. But get up and stand on your feet, for I have appeared to you for this reason: to appoint you as my servant and as witness of this vision in which you have seen me, and of others in which I shall appear to you. I shall deliver you from the people and from the pagans, to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light, from the dominion of Satan to God, and receive, through faith in me, forgiveness of their sins and a share in the inheritance of the sanctified.’”
“But now in Christ Jesus, you that used to be so far apart from us have been brought very close, by the blood of Christ. For he is the peace between us, and has made the two into one and broken down the barrier which used to keep them apart, actually destroying in his own person the hostility caused by the rules and decrees of the Law. This was to create one single ‘New Man’ in himself out of the two of them and by restoring peace through the cross, to unite them both in a single body and reconcile them with God. In his own person he killed the hostility. Later he came to bring the good news of peace, peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near at hand. Through him, both of us have in the one Spirit our way to come to the Father.”
Peace I bequeath to you,
my own peace I give you,
a peace the world cannot give, this is my gift to you.
“Those who have not yet received the gospel are related in various ways to the people of God:
“In the first place there is that people to whom the covenants and the promises were made and from whom Christ was born according to the flesh. On account of their fathers, this people remains most dear to God, for God does not repent of the gifts He makes nor of the calls He issues.
“But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the creator. In the first place among these there are the Muslims; they profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and along with us adore the one and merciful God, who will judge mankind on the last day.
“Nor is God himself far distant from those who in shadows and images seek the unknown God, for it is He who gives to all men life and breath and every other gift, and who as Saviour wills that all men be saved.” Excerpted from the Constitution on the Church of the Second Vatican Council; from the Week 2 of the Year: Wednesday Office of Readings.
The Second Mystery of Light: Self-Manifestation at The Wedding at Cana
The first of the signs, given at Cana, when Christ changes water into wine and opens the hearts of the disciples to faith, thanks to the intervention of Mary, the first among believers.
The role that Mary assumes at Cana accompanies Christ throughout his ministry. The revelation made directly by the Father at the Baptism in the Jordan and echoed by John the Baptist is placed upon Mary’s lips at Cana, and it becomes the great maternal counsel which Mary addresses to the Church of every age: “Do whatever he tells you.”
This counsel is a fitting introduction to the words and signs of Christ’s public ministry and it forms the Marian foundation of all the “Mysteries of Light”.
Three days later there was a wedding at Cana in Galilee. The mother of Jesus was there, and Jesus and his disciples had also been invited. When they ran out of wine, since the wine provided for the wedding was all finished, the mother of Jesus said to him, ‘They have no wine’. Jesus said, ‘Woman, why turn to me? My hour has not come yet.’ His mother said to the servants, ‘Do whatever he tells you’. There were six stone water jars standing there, meant for the ablutions that are customary among the Jews: each could hold twenty or thirty gallons. Jesus said to the servants, ‘Fill the jars with water’, and they filled them to the brim. ‘Draw some out now’ he told them ‘and take it to the steward.’ They did this; the steward tasted the water, and it had turned into wine. Having no idea where it came from—only the servants who had drawn the water knew—the steward called the bridegroom and said, ‘People generally serve the best wine first, and keep the cheaper sort till the guests have had plenty to drink; but you have kept the best wine till now’.
This was the first of the signs given by Jesus: it was given at Cana in Galilee. He let his glory be seen, and his disciples believed in him.
“The all-holy Father of Christ, beyond all created being, as supreme steersman, through his own wisdom and his own Word, our Lord and Savior Christ, guides and orders the universe for our salvation, and acts as seems best to him. And the universe is good, as it was created and thus we see it, since this is what he wills ; and no one could disbelieve it. For if the movement of creation was meaningless, and the universe was carried about haphazardly, one could well believe our statements. But if it was created with reason, wisdom, and understanding and has been arranged with complete order, then he who governs and ordered it can be none other than the Word of God.
“I mean the living and acting God, the very Word of the good God of the universe, who is other than created things and all creation ; he is rather the sole and individual Word of the good Father, who has ordered all this universe and illuminates it by his providence. He is the good Word of the good Father, and it is he who has established the order of all things, reconciling opposites and from them forming a single harmony. He is the one, Only-begotten, good God, proceeding from the Father as from a good source, who orders and contains the universe.”
Excerpted from St. Athanasius’ Discourse Against the Gentiles; from the Week 1 of the Year: Thursday Office of Readings.
The First Mystery of Light: The Baptism in the Jordan
Jesus’ public life begins with his baptism by John in the Jordan. John preaches a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.
As Christ descends into the waters, the innocent one who became sin for our sake, the heavens open wide and the voice of the Father declares him the beloved Son, while the Spirit descends on him to invest him with the mission which he is to carry out.
A feeling of expectancy had grown among the people, who were beginning is to think that John might be the Christ, so John declared before them all, ‘I baptise you with water, but someone is coming, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to undo the strap of his sandals; he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire’.
Now when all the people had been baptised and while Jesus after his own baptism was at prayer, heaven opened and the Holy
Spirit descended on him in bodily shape, like a dove. And a voice came from heaven, ‘You are my Son, the Beloved; my favour rests on you’.