By Zouavman Le Zouave (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
All men are called to illuminate the world with the light of Christ.
By Deacon Frederick Bartels
25 September 2017
Jesus said to the crowd: “No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light. Take care, then, how you hear. To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away.” (Lk 8:16-18)
In the ancient world, a torchbearer would often lead people through the darkness to their destination. With the light from a torch, their path through the dark was illuminated and they could move quickly along without fear of stumbling or becoming lost. The torchbearer, of course, would himself have to know the proper way; otherwise, the torchlight would serve little purpose other than to contribute to confusion and false hope.
In today’s gospel, Jesus emphasizes the importance of light produced by a lamp. The owner of the lamp lights it for this purpose: so that all may see the light.
Today’s gospel parable found in Luke immediately proceeds the parable of the Sower. In this parable, as Jesus explained to his disciples, the seed represents the word of God. The sower is Jesus Christ, the perfect revelation of God the Father, who lovingly sows God’s word among all the people he meets. When the seed of God’s word falls on the proper soil, it grows and produces “a hundredfold.”
When the seed of the word of God falls on the cultivated soil of an open and repentant heart, one which thirsts to receive the unfathomable riches of the word of God in order that divine light may dwell within, it germinates and flourishes. The person, then, directed by God’s word and infused by his divine Spirit, radiates light for all to see. In purposefully and intentionally living out his faith in Christ, he becomes a torchbearer who attracts those around him with the blazing light of the Redeemer: by this light, he is enabled by Christ to help guide others to their destination of heavenly and unending light:
[T]hey will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And there will be no more night; they need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever. (Rev 22:4-5).
The meaning of Christian discipleship is found in leading others by the light of faith through the darkness found in the world to the divine light of the Savior of the world (Jn 3:17). It’s a holy, salvific enterprise which finds its origin, energy, and efficaciousness in Christ himself, who calls his disciples to participate in his own saving mission and infuses them with the light of the virtue of faith, giving to them the ability to lead others to himself. Christian faith is meant to attract others, to be as a lamp shining in the darkness for all to see, admire, and desire. It should bring all who gaze upon it the warmth of truth, beauty, and goodness found in the saving gospel.
However, this cannot happen when one’s faith is separated from one’s life, compartmentalized and hidden away; nor can it take place when one’s private life is out-of-phase with the virtue of faith and the certain and true word of God. The terrifying situation today is that large numbers of Catholics and other Christians “have lost a living sense of the faith, or even no longer consider themselves members of the Church, and live a life far removed from Christ and his Gospel” (JP II, Redemptoris Missio 33).
Jesus reminds us today to beware of such a situation and offers with love this warning:
For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light. Take care, then, how you hear. To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away.
Perhaps, after an interior examination of your conscience, you have found that you are not illuminating the light of Christ but rather you are contributing to the darkness of the world. Perhaps you have given yourself over to a secular way of thinking, far removed from the light of Christ and the truth of the gospel. Perhaps you have drifted from the Church or intentionally abandoned her. Whatever the case, Christ calls you back. He calls you to repentance, to the sacrament of Penance, and to full reconciliation with the Church that you may once again become the torchbearer God desires you to be.
Let us pray:
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me, a sinner. I have hidden your light away, extinguished it within my heart through my own fault. Take me once more as your own, for I trust in your divine mercy and infinite love. I pledge to confess my sins and to amend my life. With the help of your grace and the gift of your loving and guiding Spirit, make me your torchbearer, that I may live the saintly life of bringing your light into the world.
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