The First Reading narrates the first part of the Creation story. It tells us in the beginning, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while the spirit of God swept over the face of the waters. There was nothing in the beginning, just darkness and chaos. The First Reading then tells us, Then, God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. The word then tells us the first thing God did when he created was to speak. The Word God spoke brought light. God spoke several more times, and each time he spoke his Word, something was made. When God sent his Word, creation happens.
This Word took flesh and became man in Jesus Christ. The Gospel tells us, this Word of God who became man and wherever he went, into villages or cities or farms, they laid the sick in the marketplaces, and begged him that they might touch even the fringe of his cloaks; and all who touched it were healed.
Imagine, the Word of God became man, so that he can be touched. god made himself visible and accessible because he wants to let us know he is with us, that he is here and the power he had in the beginning, to create Light, the seas, the earth, the plants, the sun and moon and stars, he has crammed this in Jesus Christ. This power in Jesus, 1 John 1:1 tells us That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and our hands have handled, of the word of life.
Jesus can do anything if he so wills. And he became man to reveal the mysteries of God, to tell us of the love of God and of how we can have this life in life by trusting Jesus and obeying him.
St Josephine Bakhita was a slave and did not know Jesus until she was the daughter of a tribal leader but was kidnapped by Arab slave traders. She was sold twice as a slave and suffered from one of her owners who scarred her body with 114 scars. She was later sold to the Italian vice-consul who treated her better. When the vice-consul went back to Italy, Josephine begged him to bring her with him. Upon arrival in Italy, she was given to a couple who made her nanny to their daughter. When the husband went to Sudan to finish some business transaction, the rest of the family and Josephine were left with the Canossian sisters in Venice.
On November 29, 1889, the Italian court ruled that since slavery was not legal in Italy, Josephine’s status as a slave in Italy was not valid. She became a free woman. She chose to stay with the Canossian sisters and was baptized on January 9, 1890. Her life shows the power of God to set people free. In her case, from slavery, but perhaps in some of us, slavery from an addiction, or bad habit. When we are enslaved by something, we are living in darkness. But like what God did to St Josephine, he can set us free from these, if we trust him. Sometimes, the struggle may take a lifetime, but the important thing is the struggle against what enslaves us.
There is always hope as long as we live. The incarnation of the Word of God as Jesus proves, God wants to set us free, he wants to give light in our lives. St Josephine said: If we had no hope in the Lord, what would we do in this world? As long as we have faith in God, there is always hope.
Lord, here I am. My life is in darkness, it is empty. Yet, I believe with your Word, you will give it life and you will fill it. Here I am, i surrender this emptiness and darkness in me. Help me to fight whatever enslaves me. St Josephine Bakhita, pray that I may have hope as I struggle with what enslaves me.