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May Our Light Shine
Monday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
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.”
Opening Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, I thank you for the grace to be able to come before you in prayer. Open my mind and my heart to receive your word fruitfully. Increase my faith, hope, and love so that I may live according to your will. I confidently place all my needs, and those of others, in your hands. I love you, Jesus.
- To Hide or Not to Hide?: “No one who lights a lamp conceals it… rather, he places it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light.” Nevertheless, in another passage, Our Lord said, “But when you pray, go to your inner room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you” (Matthew 6:6). Still another passage says, “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father” (Matthew 6:1). So, do we or do we not hide our prayer and good actions from others? The decisive issue here is our intention. We should not perform good deeds “in order to be seen,” but rather for love of God and neighbor. Otherwise, we run the risk of doing something that is inherently good for the sake of vanity, for the mere approval of others.
- Becoming Visible: Inversely, we must also not be so private as to never give public witness of our faith: “Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father” (Matthew 10:32-33). Again, one’s intention is crucial. Just as it is wrong to do something good merely to “show off,” it is equally wrong to be ashamed of publicly displaying our allegiance to Jesus. At an even deeper level, all actions done for love of God and neighbor will eventually shine through. The modest saint gives God the glory in all his or her actions—hidden or public.
- Given More: “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.” This seems almost unfair. Shouldn’t we give to those who do not have enough? What Our Lord is stating here could be called the “Law of Generosity.” It simply means that when we give, we receive more in return, and when we are selfish, the little we have will diminish even more. This is reminiscent of the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi: “O, Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console; to be understood as to understand; to be loved as to love; For it is in giving that we receive; it is in pardoning that we are pardoned; it is in dying that we are born again to eternal life.” The more we live by this “Law of Generosity,” the more the Prayer of St. Francis logically makes sense.
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus Christ, I need your grace to open my heart to you and to others. Help me to grow daily in generosity by repeated acts of self-giving. Let me listen to others when needed, offer advice when asked, and serve when possible. May I seek your glory and not my own. Help me to return your love to me by loving my neighbor.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will perform at least one act of kindness that requires some sacrifice on my part.
For Further Reflection: Read The Quest for a Good Life Quotation #4: In Giving We Receive.
Written by Fr. John Bullock, LC.