A Light

Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator

Today we hear St. Luke's version of the proverb about light. St. Matthew's Gospel records that Jesus said, "You are the light of the world." St. Luke's version is much more modest. However, the intent behind the proverb is still the same.

Similes and metaphors about light abound in our language. We sometimes refer to an inspirational person as a "beacon of hope" or "a light in the darkness." Even the Book of Proverbs, from which we will read these next few days, tells us the path of just is like a shining light. (Proverbs 4:18)

The question then becomes, "What kind of light are we?" Although scientists have probed the nature of light and have come to understand it as waves of energy emanating from a specific source, for most of us, light just is. It can be sensed only by the eyes as it has no sound, no feel, no taste or smell. Perhaps the best was to describe it is to say that it fills the darkness and makes it possible for us to move without colliding with other solid objects in that space. Though it dims as it gets further and further from its source, it tends to expand almost infinitely, much as the light of the stars which travels millions of miles before it is visible.

Jesus declares in the Gospel of St. John that he is the light of the world. None of us would be so bold as to make that claim. However, there have been other historical figures that stand as lights in our dark world. The ancients used to believe that the souls of just people became stars in the night once they passed to the afterlife. The lesson that the Scriptures teach us is that our light must be allowed to shine to illumine the path for those who would walk the path of righteousness. At Baptism, the priest hands at candle to the parents and godparents and admonishes them to keep the light burning by imparting their faith to the child. Once we reach the age of reason, the task is ours. Today's Gospel reminds us of that part of our vocation.

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