September 22, 2008
Monday of the Twenty-Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Luke 8: 16-18
Jesus said to the crowd: "No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light. For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light. Take care, then, how you hear. To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away."
Introductory Prayer: Lord, in this Jubilee Year of St. Paul, I turn to you with renewed zeal for the salvation of souls. I believe in you and your love for me. Teach me to live and spread the Catholic faith ardently. Increase my faith, hope, and love so that I may exclaim with St. Paul, “yet I live, no longer I, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20).
Petition: Lord Jesus, dispel the darkness of my heart by your grace. Inflame my heart with your love, so that I may bear your heavenly light to others.
1. Acting with a Purpose.
“No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed.” Jesus’ parable refers to direct human experience: a sensible person acts purposefully. Common sense tells me that my actions need to be coherent with the good I intend to accomplish. If a lamp’s flame is needed to light up the room, and a lamp has already been lit for precisely this purpose – why snuff it out? No guests to my home will feel welcome if I leave them to grope through shadowy rooms. Why make them crouch under beds and couches in search of light? It is wrong, therefore, to think that living the Christian faith is irrational. As Christians, we are purposeful. Yes, faith is a gift, and we await the hour of God’s grace to be strengthened in his will. We are the lamps. He is the fire who has given us his flame. He has lit us with a purpose. As Christians, we are called to be light for the world. Christ’s intention shines bright. Someone else is at fault if the wick is found extinguished or the lamp misplaced. Are my actions motivated by God’s will? Is my every thought and action a reflection of Christ’s love for others? What must I rectify?
2. Transparent Before God
A children’s catechism will answer the question, “What does God know?” with “Everything, including my most secret thoughts and desires.” In today’s Gospel Christ affirms “there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light.” Even if the dark designs of the human heart find a way to deceive the world, the day of God’s judgment will nonetheless disclose them. St. Paul asserts this very awareness: “Therefore, do not make any judgment before the appointed time, until the Lord comes, for he will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will manifest the motives of our hearts, and then everyone will receive praise from God” (1 Corinthians 4:5).
3. Transparency Begets Peace
Sometimes we are like foolish actors. We wear a mask because we don’t like they way we look. It is only a façade behind which we try hide, hoping that nobody will notice. But deep in our hearts we know the truth. We are sinners. We have chosen the darkness instead of the light. We are not at peace and there is no true joy. When we lay our lives open before God, without trying to hide anything from him (as if we really could hide something from him), we experience a deep, interior peace. This is the joy we experience after confession. He takes away our burdens and makes everything more bearable.
Conversation with Christ: Lord, let me know myself to be light that burns with your love!
Resolution: I will plan and fulfill an act of charity today – even if it is an act of love that goes unnoticed and un-thanked by others.
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