THE difference between an optimist and a pessimist has been compared in many ways, but one that is appropriate for our topic today is how these two opposite characteristics look at the future. The optimist would say there is light at the end of the tunnel; the pessimist would reply that the light is the headlight of a train. The first see something to hope for out of darkness; the other sees things as worse. Truly oftentimes darkness and light depends on our perspective.
In the daylight Mass for Christmas Day, the Gospel talks of the Christ as “the Light of men; and the Light shines in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” We recall the story of creation when for the first day God said, “Let there be light” and the darkness was dispelled.
We look back in the past months and many felt that somehow we are facing the unknown because of many uncertainties in life. Some see the light; others the incoming train. Prices of commodities are rising beyond our comprehension and belief and despite the assurances of the government and the predictions of economists from the slide rules and graphs that the quack would be as accurate in his bowl, soup dish or fortune sticks.
Nobody can predict the future because we see, as St. Paul says, things darkly. Only the Light can dispel the darkness not only of our future but of our lives. Indeed we cannot comprehend the Light because we see Him “darkly” at best and only a strong faith and trust in God’s promise that He will never leave us orphans, keep us strong.
But we must embrace the Light and reject the darkness. Unfortunately people prefer the darkness than the Light although if we considered common sense, we should reject darkness. This is the reason that we have candles, flashlights, cellphones, torches and electricity – all to dissipate the darkness.
There is profit in darkness. Many people think that the evil they dois the key to wealth, power and public acclaim. And yet they operate in darkness, they fear their actions being brought out to the light. Corruption, for instance, never comes out of the light; it fears the light and the corrupt spend millions to cover up their evil from the light of exposure.
The misfortune of the present generation is that the corrupt, though their corruption is hidden in darkness, accepts the fruits of corruption as if it is a normal thing in life. The corrupt insures that the light of good is never allowed to shine. There are hundreds of means to attain this, the most important of which is to also corrupt the others, to bring them into the darkness as if to validate the dictum “there is safety in numbers”.
Of course, there is also value in darkness because then we can appreciate the light better, like seeing the stars clearly shining in a dark night. But we must learn of the contrast and make a choice whether we would be “children of the darkness” or “children of the light.”
Corruption is evil designed and executed in darkness, because it can succeed only though concealment. This is the reason our laws demand transparency and accountability but this purpose is denied the nation by corrupt politicians, corrupt prosecutors and corrupt judges who operate in darkness. They know they are doing an evil thing. Of course, there are some charges filed but most never prosper because of corruption, the hideousness of transactions.
It is often said, and truly it has been proved, that the people deserve the kind of government they elect into office.
Ask anyone why the corrupt gets elected and reelected. The most common answer is “vote buying”. This practice survives and even prospers because the seller of his vote is also infected with the evil of corruption. Thus operators take so much effort to keep the purchase in secret but if the practice had become endemic and widespread, they operate even in the light of day and through government payroll.
Darkness or light is our decision for next year. G.K. Chesterton, a 19th century lay theologian, writer, poet, journalist, among others, who converted to Catholicism said, “The issue is now clear. It is between light and darkness and everyone must choose his side.”