The Lord describes us as Salt and Light, two things that while good in themselves are also precious when shared with others. With salt our food is tasty and preserved; with light we can see and find our way on the journey of life. May we share our lives with one another, giving glory to God for blessings we have received.
Let’s take a quick look at an overview of the readings this week:
1st Reading – Samuel “sees” David and anoints him with the Spirit
Psalm – “The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want.”
2nd Reading – We are children who live in the light of Christ
Gospel – Jesus heals a man who was blind from birth
Images of sight, light, and darkness appear throughout these readings, reminding us of the crucial role our sight plays in daily life. As we rely on our eyes, we recognize light and color as it interacts with our senses and guides much of our action.
God helps Samuel to see – not with human but heavenly eyesight – the qualities that will make David king of Israel; Jesus helps the man born blind to see the face of the living God. Ephesians reminds us that as children of the light we turn away from darkness and live in goodness, while the Psalmist gives us courage to walk in the darkest of valleys…confident that the Lord is at our side.
For we know that the darkness is a part of life; indeed, many of us have had the experience of darkness – where fear, doubt, and indecision hold us in a grip of paralysis – and we understand all too well our sense of loneliness and loss.
The Good News: God restores our sight – helping us to see the Lord at work in our world – and inspires us to direct our thoughts, words and actions by the light of faith. May the Light of Christ open our eyes and guide our steps through this life!
As Mary and Joseph present their infant son in the Temple, they encounter Simeon and Anna who give praise to God for the fulfillment of the Lord’s promises – the Messiah has come bringing light into the world! As his disciples may we continue to share this light as we present ourselves for service to God and one another.
When we do these things we discover that God provides the strength, wisdom, direction and guidance to carry them out. The Lord takes our effort, reinforces it with grace, and blesses our work in ways we never imagined. Like a brilliant light shining in the darkness, the glory of Jesus Christ pierces the pain and struggles of this life and offers us hope to continue on our way.
And when we let the Lord work through us we become Salt & Light. Our lives, invigorated by God’s love, become conduits for Divine Charity to touch hearts and lives in our world today. It is the Lord’s power at work in our lives, and we are blessed every time we say “Yes!” to the call of Christ to serve those in our midst.
1st Reading – The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light
Psalm – “The Lord is my light and my salvation.”
2nd Reading – Agree in what you say, and let there be no divisions among you
Gospel – John the Baptist dies, and Jesus embarks on his public ministry
The 1st reading from the prophet Isaiah, the Psalm, and the Gospel of Matthew all reference light and darkness. The imagery speaks to us on many levels:
Light is necessary for sight
Light brings comfort and consolation
Light is a sign of God’s grace and presence
And yet we know that darkness is also part of our existence. In our modern world we often do all that we can to drive the darkness away, but if you have ever been out in the country (away from all the city lights) you begin to get a sense of what most people were acquainted with through human history.
Things hide in the dark. Crime often occurs in the dark. Fear, anxiety, worry and distress often increase in the darkness. While the darkness is not bad in itself, we often associate it with many challenges and concerns that form the landscape of our our hearts.
Today we hear once again how God’s light casts out all darkness. God’s grace offers us hope, peace, and strength to face the darkness of life with conviction and trust. We know that life is not easy; we face our burdens confident that the Lord will light our way.
Where is the darkness in your life right now? Face it with the light of Jesus Christ! Let the Lord’s light shine in our hearts and lives, offering us the wisdom and direction we need to live our faith today.
There are several wonderful points for reflection in this well known gospel reading:
The Magi who come from the East
A star that guides them
The perplexity of King Herod and all Jerusalem
The fulfillment of the prophecy of Micah (“And you Bethlehem…”)
The plot of King Herod
The gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh
The warning of the Magi in a dream not to return to Herod
The word epiphany means “to shine upon” and it is the illumination of this story – by starlight, prophecy, gifts, and foreign wisdom – that help us see how God works in our world.
The birth of Christ brings light by which people begin to see the Lord. We are no longer in darkness! What’s more, this light is available to all peoples…for the prophecy of Micah in the Jewish tradition and the study of the stars guide the Magi to Jesus.
This light continues to shine in our world today. God’s grace casts out darkness and brings light to guide us as we seek to follow the Lord through the cares and worries of daily life. May we seek out the Lord’s light for our lives, and help others to be directed in faith to find Jesus Christ.