Let Your Light Shine 2-5-2023

February 1st, 2023

Once upon a time there was a great biblical scholar who was also
noted for his great piety. He spent hours every day secluded in his room
studying the Scriptures, and praying and mediating. One day a holy man
visited the town in which the scholar lived. On hearing about it, the
scholar set out to look for him.
He looked first in the church, but did not find him there. Then he
looked in a local shrine, but he wasn’t there either. He looked in other
likely places, but failed to find him. Eventually he found him in the
marketplace with all the people.
The advice he got was simple and direct. Looking at him intently,
the holy man said, “It’s easy to be a sage, wise man and saint in your
room. You should go out into the marketplace, where people work,
play, laugh, cry, and try to be a saint there.”
We are not told whether or not the scholar had the courage to act
on that advice. This is exactly the advice Jesus is giving us in today’s
Gospel when he says, “You are the light in the World. No one lights a
lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on a lamp-stand where it shines for
everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in the
sight of people, so that seeing your good works, they may give praise to
your Father in heaven.”
It is easy to let the light shine in the comfort and safety of one’s
room. But that can be a selfish thing, because it means we are keeping
the light to ourselves. It is not so easy to let the light shine in the rough
and tumble of the marketplace. But that is where it is most needed.
Let me close with this reflection and prayer…
The most important thing about each of us
is our capacity for goodness.
We can be a source of light.
We have hands that can care,
eyes that can see,
ears that can hear,
tongues that can speak,
feet that can walk,
and above all hearts that can love.
Unfortunately, through laziness, selfishness, lack of self worthy,
and cowardice, our light can be dimmed,
so that we become shadows of the people we could be.
Lord, help us to believe in our own goodness,
and to let the light of that goodness shine.
On seeing this light others may find their way,
and you will be glorified.
AMEN.

Blessed Are You 1-29-2023

January 22nd, 2023

Picture This. Jesus pulls up a metal folding chair in the parish hall
or takes a seat on the couch in the living room and begins to teach:
“If you’re struggling to pay the bills, but insist on making time to
be with your children whenever they need you, blessed are you – you
may never own the big vacation home and the Lexus, but heaven will be
yours.
“If you are overwhelmed by the care of a dying spouse, a sick child
or an elderly parent but you are determined to make a loving home for
them, blessed are you – one day your sorrow will be transformed into
joy.
“If you willingly give your time to cook at a soup kitchen, vacuum
the church, help in a classroom; if you befriend the uncool, the
unpopular, the perpetually lost, blessed are you – count God among your
friends and biggest boosters.
“If you refuse to take shortcuts when it comes to doing what is
right, if you refuse to compromise your integrity and ethics, if you refuse
to take refuge in the rationalization that ‘everybody does it,’ blessed are
you – you will triumph.
“If you try to understand things from the perspective of the other
person and always manage to find a way to make things work for the
good; if you’re feeling discouraged and frustrated because you are
always worrying, always waiting, always bending over backwards,
always paying the price for loving the unlovable and forgiving the
undeserving, blessed are you – God will welcome, forgive and love you.
“If you struggle to discover what God asks of you in all things; if
you seek God’s presence in every facet of your life and every decision
you make; if your constant prayer is not ‘give me’ but ‘help me,’ blessed
are you – God will always be there for you.
“If you readily spend time listening and consoling anyone who
looks to you for support, for guidance, for compassion; if you manage to
heal wounds and build bridges; if others see in you graciousness, joy and

serenity; if you can see the good in everyone and seek the good for
everyone, blessed are you – you are nothing less than God’s own.
“If you are rejected or demeaned because of the color of your skin
or the sound of your name; if your faith automatically puts you at odds
with some people; if you refuse to compromise to ‘get along’ or ‘not
make waves,’ blessed are you – one day you will live with God.
“Rejoice and be glad,” Jesus tells those who have gathered, “you
are the blessed of God. In the end, heaven is yours.” Remember this.

The First Disciples of Jesus 1-22-2023

January 19th, 2023

The time was now. Jesus decided he was ready to choose his
twelve apostles. Just advertising in the newspapers didn’t seem
thorough enough. So Jesus decided to hold an Olympics from which the
twelve would be chosen. The people came from all over. The
competition was fierce. Jesus had to judge all the events.
First came the prayer event. People had practiced and it showed in
the speed with which they could recite the words. Some articulated the
words with utmost precision. Some used big impressive words. Still
others expressed lofty ideas. But when it came time for a winner to be
selected, Jesus chose none. There didn’t seem to be any heart in their
prayers. They were just words.
Second came the worship event. These contestants, too, had done
their homework. Some wore beautiful garments. Some used lots of
incense. Some emphasized music. Others incorporated gestures. But
again, when it was selection time, there was no winner. There didn’t
seem to be any heart in worship. It was too showy.
Third came the teaching event. This was a prepared group. Some
came with elaborate posters. Some came with long, well ordered talks.
Some came with DVD players. Others came with their small groups to
demonstrate process. Again, no winners. There was no heart in
teaching. The methods seemed more important.
So, the Olympics ended. No winners, no apostles. Exhausted after
his long exasperating ordeal, Jesus went down to the lake to cool off and
relax. Then the miracle happened. He saw people fishing. Now there
were some people who put their hearts into what they were about. So he
chose them!
Remember… the first disciples of Jesus were ordinary people.
They weren’t great public speakers, scholars, kings or saints. They
weren’t presidents, theologians or ordained ministers. They were
fishermen. A tax collector. Common field workers. Who, by God’s
power, and their openness, made great things happen! What about us –
Could great things happen through us? Yes — By God’s Power and Our
Openness!