“Mankind is often seduced by bright lights, and seeks after the light that makes you arrogant or brings you to look on others from on high. The light that Jesus brings is something other than the light of the world, it is a mild light, it is a quiet light, it is a light of peace.”
- Pope Francis
Scripture Text: (IS 8:23-9:3)
First the Lord degraded the land of Zebulun
and the land of Naphtali;
but in the end he has glorified the seaward road,
the land west of the Jordan,
the District of the Gentiles.
Anguish has taken wing, dispelled is darkness:
for there is no gloom where but now there was distress.
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom
a light has shone.
You have brought them abundant joy
and great rejoicing,
as they rejoice before you as at the harvest,
as people make merry when dividing spoils.
For the yoke that burdened them,
the pole on their shoulder,
and the rod of their taskmaster
you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.
Today’s first reading at Mass challenges us all. We are called to be the light of the world. We are not told to stand in judgment of what others do or don't do, we are told to be a reflection of God’s love for others by the way we live our lives. “You are the light of the world” (Mt 5:14-16)… and the word we use to describe this job is "hope."
A Hindu trader in India once asked a missionary, "What do you put on your face to make it shine?" With surprise the woman answered, "I don’t put anything on it!" Her questioner began to lose patience and said emphatically, "Yes, you do! All of you who believe in Jesus seem to have it. I’ve seen it in the towns of Agra and Kolkata, and even in the city of Goa." Suddenly the Catholic girl understood, and her face glowed even more as she said, "Now I know what you mean, and I will tell you the secret. It’s not something we put on from the outside but something that comes from within. It’s the reflection of the light of God in our hearts.” But, when He isn’t in our hearts, you will have no trouble hiding your own light under any bushel you may choose.
Pope Francis encourages the faithful to pray for “the wisdom and discernment to understand when it is Jesus who gives us the light, and when it is the devil, disguised as an angel of light.” He suggested: “Wherever Jesus is, there is always humility, meekness, love, and the Cross.”
We can decide to “light a candle” or better yet be “a candle” rather than curse the darkness. Even the smallest candle helps in a world of darkness.