The Light of the World

February 5, 2023
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)
Readings for Today

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“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 5:14–16 

We’ve all experienced a time when the lights went out and we were in darkness. In this case, if you were to light a candle and place it in the center of the room, its light would make quite a difference. One candle in a darkened room transforms that room, making it a more comfortable dwelling place.

Using that image, consider the first line in Jesus’ metaphor above. “You are the light of the world.” Try to see yourself as that single candle in the darkness. That is your mission. Just as a single candle can give light to an entire room, so you are capable of being a source of light for many others.

One of the primary missions we have all received in life is to allow the light of God’s grace to “shine before others.” The result of fulfilling this mission is that others will see our good deeds that were inspired by God, and they will, in turn, glorify the Father in Heaven. Thus, your mission of radiating the light of Christ for others results in God being praised and glorified.

This full statement of Jesus is especially helpful to consider when we struggle with pride. Pride is a way of pointing to ourselves. It’s an act of selfishness by which we place ourselves in the spotlight as a way of trying to become the object of others’ praise. But what Jesus tells us is that when we properly fulfill our role of being the light of the world, when we radiate the Light of Christ, others will be inspired not to praise us but rather to glorify God as He acts through us. This is quite a difference.

With that being said, the beautiful thing about God being glorified is that God often wants us to share in that glory. That means that if you were to do an act of charity for another, and they were deeply grateful to you and thanked you, their “thank you” is an act of glorifying God when it is understood that you acted out of a love of God. God is praised when we, His children, give and receive love and honor between each other on account of our faith.

Reflect, today, upon two things. First, think about those upon whom God has called you to shine His light. Who is it in your life who needs an act of love, charity, mercy, forgiveness or compassion? Commit yourself to becoming God’s light for them in their darkness. Second, think about those who have shone the Light of Christ upon you. When this has happened, how did you respond? Hopefully your response was one of a gratitude that not only returns love to the other but also glorifies God through your gratitude. Be the light of the world to a world in need and seek out that light as it shines brightly through others. This is the only way to step out of the darkness that constantly tries to pervade us.

Lord, You are the true Light Who dispels every darkness in life. You are the Light of my life and shine brightly for all to see. Help me to see Your light as it shines on others and to glorify You for that gift. And help me to be an instrument of Your light to those who need it the most. Jesus, I trust in You.

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Not celebrated as a liturgical memorial this year since it falls on Sunday

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