In Tuesday's gospel for the 10th week of ordinary time, we hear Jesus say some familiar words.
Jesus said to His disciples: You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father." (Matthew 5:13-16)
I used to think that I had a pretty good grasp on what Jesus was saying, until two other pieces of Scripture came to mind. In John 8:12, Jesus says to the Pharisees,
"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life."
And, in Genesis 1:3-4, when God said:
"Let there be light, and there was light. God saw how good the light was."
God the Father created light. Jesus said He was the light of the world, and tells his disciples (and me), that I must be as He is. I find this to be quite a challenge I'm faced with, living like Jesus.
When I read Genesis, I believe that light means life. At the beginning, God, by willing light into being, created every possible and potential form of life that has ever existed, or will ever exist. And science tells me that light is necessary for human beings and for most living things, because through the wonder of photosynthesis, plants use sunlight to create oxygen, an element we cannot live without. And while sunlight gives life to our physical bodies, there is another Light which brings life, a light that transforms us into something more than just one of a million or so other life forms.
When Jesus tells me that He is the light of the world, He also tells me that those who see Him see the Father (John 10:30). So I need to look at Jesus, and ask myself, "What is His light showing me? What does He want me to see?" I realize that I must look at what Jesus taught, and how he lived in order to understand. I learn that to reflect God's image and likeness is to be compassionate, to love my neighbors and even my enemies. It is to bring healing when I can, to be generous without counting the cost, and to live a life in humble service to others. And I find that Jesus is the Light that brings Life, eternal life. And by the light of His life, I discover that God is love, and love is joy.
This is what Jesus tells us is fundamental to God's nature. And Jesus exemplified this life of complete and unconditional self-giving. I am offered a life transformed through love by Love Incarnate. His light empowers me, through the Holy Spirit, to transcend my everyday life and enables me to share in His divine nature.
It is my life that must shine before others. Jesus has called me to be a "life-giver", to be the light that pierces the darkness of hate, greed, isolation and indifference. I must be Jesus, radiantly alive and loving, and filled with gratitude for His Light within.
Greetings to all who love to wander along the paths of the Holy Scriptures! The purpose of this blog is to share some of the insights of ordinary Catholics who have begun to delve into the mysteries of the Sacred Scriptures. Hopefully you will find these reflections inspiring and insightful. We are faithful to the Church, but we are not theologians; we intend and trust that our individual reflections will remain within the inspired traditions of the Church. (If you note otherwise please let me know!) Discussion and comments are welcome, but always in charity and respect! Come and join us as we ponder the Sacred Scriptures, which will lead us on the path into His heart, which "God alone has traced" Job 28:23.