What does it mean for us to be light?
By Fr. Norm Tanck, CSB
Last weekend we celebrated the Feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. As we blessed the candles that we use in Church and at home we were reminded that Jesus is the light of the World. This weekend Jesus speaking to his disciples and to the Church, the Body of Christ, “You are the light of the world, …let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” What does it mean for us to be light?
Isaiah tells us, “…to share your bread with the hungry and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them and not to hide yourself from your own kin? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn and your healing shall spring up quickly… If you remove the yoke from among you, the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil, if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday”.
The light of compassion and mercy that may be as source of healing, hope and liberation for some, may also be a challenge and judgment on others. For the light may also reveal what causes the darkness. Dom Hélder Câmara (1909-1999), Archbishop of Olinda and Recife in Brazil, an advocate for the poor and oppressed said, “When I give food to the poor, they call me a saint. When I ask why the poor have no food, they call me a communist”.
Over the centuries many individual Christians and the Church, herself, have been worthy witnesses to Christ’s care and concern for those who suffer and they are models of God’s love and mercy as they feed the hungry, care for the sick, shelter the homeless and educate men and women so that they can live happy and productive lives. Others at times have spoken out against the injustices, suffering and hurt caused by prejudice, economic systems, governments.
As we reflect on this week’s readings let us consider how we have been light to others and how others have been light to us. Let us pray that we be sensitive to the needs of others and work together to find the causes and cures for injustice in our society and the world in which we live.
1 Corinthians 2.1-5