Rev. Ricardo D. Bernardino
University Chaplain (Manila)

“Overcoming Darkness in These Critical Times”

By Rev. Ricardo D. Bernardino
John 3:19

It’s Dark. It’s late. Only if he could make that day last longer, he would. The next hours to come are the most crucial in his life. Only if he could stay longer. Stay safe. How can one be safe in these critical times? How can we overcome darkness?

Jesus the Son of God came at the hour of discomfort; the hour where men’s works were evil. He came as a verdict. He came as the light of the world (John 3:19).

 Here in the dark garden of Gethsemane. After he has broken the bread. After he has drunk the wine. He walked to the darkened path, the path many with burdened hearts has trod. Slow plodded. Jesus’ heart was in pain, like the pain of many, in the many injustices.

Going a little farther, he fell with his face to the ground and prayed, “My Father, if it is possible, may this cup be taken from me. Yet not as I will, but as you will (Matthew 26:39).

That dark night is the prelude to crucifixion. Judgement is to come. Who else in the proper state of mind would wish death to come to them? The most painful death. The most dehumanizing condemnation. Our days are dark as well. Disintegration. The dehumanizing socio-political, economic and moral corruptions slowly kill our people.

In the darkness of life, to struggle is real. Gethsemane (Aramaic) a place called oil press. A garden so trivial; witnessed the agony of Christ. As the garden befriended the silent hour of anguish, only the garden knew, not oil but blood was pressed. We too like the Son of God must endure. In His life’s example – the prone must act on his behalf.

Ready we must. Jesus is ready to overcome darkness. Ready to drink the wine of suffering. No matter how awful tasting it maybe. For the cup holds the anger of God against sin. The cup contains God’s judgement against the evil in this world.

It may not taste good. But like Jesus we must tolerate the taste. Some medicines are awful to drink. Some medicines we cannot stomach. Some we spit out. But we have to take it, because it is our only remedy.

Our remedy in overcoming darkness is to endure burning. It is to remain living a life of righteousness. It is to never compromise our faith. Like the extreme pain of Jesus in Gethsemane, is the work for righteousness and truth. Jesus plead out to God three times to take away this cup from him.

Yes our struggle is real. In living out truth, justice and compassion, friends will leave us. Our father will abandon us. Darkness is the unfair system and the agonizing human contracts, the Son of God incarnate into and became its light.

We follow Jesus and we live in his light. To live is his light is to love. Because of love, Jesus is ready to die. His mind is clear. His death is sure. He has subdued his fear, controlled his composure. No matter how awful death is, because of love the death of Christ became the only solution for the deterioration of humanity.

Love is our only way to be deterred from our madly spawned indecency. The death and the wrath of God contained in the cup; Jesus swallowed to the last drop. He has welcome death through his selfless offering of life, that we may no more receive the judgement of God but rather obtain the mercy of God. Because of love, the bread is broken (body is broken), the wine is poured (blood is shed). Through Jesus’ sufferings and death, we received God’s abundant grace.

We too are challenge to love. In our own sacrifices we bear the light to the darkened corners of our humanity. Our love brings assurance to the confused minds, peace to the troubled-stricken soul and grace to the misery of God’s people.

Because of God’s righteousness and love, Jesus carried the sin and shame of the world upon his shoulders. Today as we strive to live in righteousness and love, and as we carry on with our struggles, we bring the least, the lost and the last in their safe Gethsemane.

We can overcome darkness in these critical times!