In the "Wizard of Oz" the heroes emerge from an enchanted forest after narrowly escaping the evil clutches of the Wicked Witch of the West.
They think they are in the clear until the witch lures them into a field of deadly poppies where they all but succumb to the poisonous plants. It takes the intervention of a dazzlingly, bright snowstorm to awake them from their slumber — then they see Oz — the gleaming city in the distance.
Suddenly, a chorus begins to sing about the light because they have passed out of the darkness.
Jesus was born to bring us into the light; to rescue us from darkness; and to light up our lives. He is the light of the world (John 8:12).
We are called to be bearers of this light of Christ through the goodness of what we do (Matthew 5:16).
Being in the limelight all the time is not easy. Our blemishes show, our mistakes are often too obvious. It is only natural now and then that we may tend to prefer the shadows, to leave the light to someone else. But, the call of Christ is not a call to timidity; it is a summons to let your light shine.
You can reject this light, but you cannot ignore it.
You are followers of Christ, and you must not bury the light of the gospel in lives of mediocrity! How often the light of the gospel becomes dim through compromise with the world in which we live? It takes courage to keep the lamp of faith burning brightly until the Lord’s return.
The prophet Isaiah, in Isaiah 58:7–10, describes the effects of God’s light in our lives.
He sings of a time when openhearted generosity calls down the glory of the Lord; when bread is shared "with the hungry"; when shelter is offered to the "oppressed" and the "homeless"; and when people do not turn their backs on the needy.
When this happens, he tells us, "your light shall break forth like the dawn."
Yes, indeed. The light of Christ is like a new dawn which keeps appearing, time after time, in the lives of faithful Christians.
We do not have to be particularly clever or eloquent to receive this light.
It comes from God as free as any natural shaft of light. It adds no weight or burden to our lives, but it enhances everything that we do. We need to get the hang of this new way of living in the light. We need to fine-tune our souls, our inner senses, so that we can walk in the light, and celebrate it.
The light that comes to us from Jesus is not just for us alone. It is also a light for others to see by.
Our actions are to glorify God so that people can see goodness in our actions. "Your light must shine before men so that they may see goodness in your acts and give praise to your heavenly Father,” Matthew 5:16.
Let us not fear to live in the light of the gospel.
Since the Lord is our light and salvation, who do we have to fear?
Fr. Hugh Duffy holds a Ph.D. from the University of Hull, England. Born in Donegal, Ireland, he was ordained in 1966 in Dublin, Ireland. He is pastor emeritus of Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Okeechobee, Florida, where he served for 30 years and built a new Church, debt-free, in 2013. He founded Christian Community Action (CCA) in Ireland that built housing for seniors, a sheltered workshop and bakery for people with disabilities, a community center, and an addiction treatment center. Since 2013 he has traveled across America as an Outreach Priest for Cross Catholic Outreach, Inc. Duffy’s recent book, “What is This Thing Called Faith?” is a collection of meditations with reflections for readers on the sayings of Jesus. For more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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