Monday, June 12, 2017

“Your Light Must Shine Before Others” by Melanie Rigney (@MelanieRigney)

For however many are the promises of God, their Yes is in him; therefore, the Amen from us also goes through him to God for glory. (2 Corinthians 1:20)

Lord, let your face shine on me. (Psalm 119:135a)

“You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be
William Holman Hunt
[Public domain], via
Wikimedia Commons
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)

Jesus, help me to remember that more people than I care to think of look at me and see You… my family, my neighbors, my coworkers, my fellow parishioners, and even those who sneer and scoff at us both.

The idea of Jesus as the light of the world—as Christians, we get that. Before Him, there was hope and faith amid darkness for generations. And then, with the resurrection, that hope was realized, through God’s grace.

And wouldn’t it be wonderful if we all reflected our confidence in that grace all the time, to those who know and believe and to those who have heard and don’t believe and to those who don’t know or understand the Good News?

But it’s all too easy to dim that light that shines within us. Let me give you an example. A colleague raised Catholic, took his wife who grew up in a different faith tradition and their teenagers to a popular musical. He knew I had tickets for a later date, and so he shared with me his thoughts about the singing, acting, and staging. I asked what the kids thought. He laughed. “They didn’t really understand it because, well, we’ve raised them as heathens and so they don’t know the Jesus story.”

I thought about asking how they can appreciate art or music or literature or world history if they don’t know “the Jesus story,” whether or not they believe. I thought about suggesting that since they live less than five blocks from my parish, they should come to Mass with me sometime, maybe during Holy Week.

Yes, I thought about saying these things. But all I did was nod and return to asking about the production. My light flickered and went out in what could have been an ideal opportunity to evangelize in a relatively same environment with a colleague I like and respect.

I doubt my experience is unusual. It’s a lot easier to talk about “the Jesus story” in our safe little cocoons with fellow believers. But He didn’t say to shine that light only among those who think like us but to “all in the house.” Let’s pray for the faith and trust to do so with every opportunity that presents itself.

Shine His light today in a situation you know will make you uncomfortable.

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