Sunday, February 06, 2011

Shine Through the Darkness

February 6, 2011
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time A 2011
By Rev. Joe McCloskey, SJ

Sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; Clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed; Your vindication shall go before you, and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Isaiah 58:7-8

Happy are those who fear the LORD, who greatly delight in God's commands. Their descendants shall be mighty in the land, generation upright and blessed. Wealth and riches shall be in their homes; their prosperity shall endure forever. They shine through the darkness, a light for the upright; they are gracious, merciful, and just. Psalm 112:1-4

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 5:14-16

Our goodness is a light that shines in our world. Our sharing bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless might seem insignificant to some. To the one that is brought in from out in the cold, the light of a warming love does the trick. They believe God has touched their lives. The good we have done in our lives lights up the path of the Lord we are following. It makes it possible for our world to come alive to the hope of goodness for all. The light of the Lord shines through the piety of our lives. Piety makes it possible to trust in the Lord. Piety shall be exalted in glory. Our piety salts each good action of our lives with the taste of the Lord. Piety leaves a good taste in the mouth of those who practice it. The good things we do ripple back upon us in wonderful ways. The smile of gratitude opens our hearts to be even more giving. We are called to be lamps to the selfishness of our world. Our selfless acts allow the light of the Lord to shine.

Our study allows us to light a lamp so that the goodness of the Lord can be seen. It is the evil in our world that challenges us to foster our goodness. God, our Father, has given us a share in the one bread and the one cup that makes us one in Christ. We can only hold unto Christ by giving him away. Our study allows us to have a part in making good come out of evil. By our learning how to lift the burden of others the lamp of our love for Christ shines into all the dark places of our hearth. We study how to let the unloved feel the warmth of our love. Christ becomes the meaning of our love.

Every time we think we are too weak to do what is necessary to make a difference in our world, we need to hear the words of Christ when he would plead to use our weakness. “It is in your weakness t hat my strength shows itself.” There is no bypass of the Cross of Christ. We look at our burdens in life and realize that when we take up our burdens we are taking up the cross of Christ. The Resurrection is on the other side of the cross and there is no bypass of the cross of Christ if we want to get to the Resurrection. Our study is our climbing his cross to look out at our world through the eyes of Christ in the throes of his suffering. Then his invitation to be his disciples by taking up our crosses and following him all of a sudden will make sense. When we accept the fullness of the love of God for his Son, we accept the love of God that is the ultimate meaning of the suffering in our lives. Thus our actions in carrying our crosses become the means that the light of Christ shines on our world. Redemptive suffering is how the love of Christ continues his salvific work in each of us. We are his love to the world. He is the light that shines out on our world through our goodness.