Proverbs 3 : 27 – 34
Luke 8 : 16 – 18
"This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine !
This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine, let it shine, let it shine !"
There are times when we hear the scriptures proclaimed at our Eucharistic celebrations when we are overwhelmed with the profound theological insights being revealed. If we had the time, we might spend all day or even days reading commentaries and discussions by various theologians about the wonders of God being revealed to and for us.
Today is not one of those days. Today’s readings are profound in another way. Proverbs and St. Luke ask us to keep our feet firmly planted in the realities of our lives and the wonder of our relationships with God and especially with one another. These readings are profound in the sense that they provide guidance for the everyday living we must do. They are as down to earth as preparing lunch or weeding the garden. Proverbs invites us to some common sense maxims for dealing with one another. Who cannot identify with the encouragement to do good for another to whom we owe a favor when we are able to do it ? Beyond that, Proverbs advises us not to put off doing the good thing when we actually have the means and the time to do it now. What is it the poet says : "Carpe diem", i.e. "Seize the day !!!" Avoid starting fights with people with whom we have no quarrel. Admire those who recognize and do good in life for these are the blessed of God. Proverbs sounds simplistic but if we reflect on our humanity for a moment, we might discover a sneaky tendency to toss our pent up emotions onto someone completely innocent or we might find ourselves graving what seems to be the spoils of those who prosper even in the face of harmful choices and purposeful hurt of others. Proverbs addresses us today right where we live in the midst of everyday rough and tumble life.
St. Luke offers us continuing everyday direction. Use the light of our life for what it was intended. Let our light shine so that all will be seen. Perhaps Jesus is addressing his followers with a profound yet simple dimension of life. Pursue good deeds . Pursue constructive and affirming relationships in life. Pursue the mindset of the Lord Jesus as our own mindset. When we do, we are taking the light of Christ that is within us from the moment of our baptism and placing it on the lamp stand so that all may see how wonderful is the way of life of the disciple of Jesus. When the choices for goodness predominate in our lives and enlightens the world around us, then more of that goodness comes into being while choices toward darkness diminish the possibility of more. Jesus is asking us to live as daughters and sons of the Light.
Both Proverbs and St. Luke’s gospel come from a different time, a different culture with different languages, customs, economies and mindsets. Yet today’s scriptures offer profound advice that is timeless and every bit as down to earth and real for our lives today. Live well with one another, choose to do good, and let your light shine before others giving the glory to God.
Fr. Richard Burke, CP, is a member of St. Paul of the Cross Province and also serves on the Provincial Council of Holy Cross Province. He lives at St. Ann’s Monastery in Scranton, Pennsylvania.