Becoming Light-Filled People
Have you ever had the experience that it gets brighter, warmer and more pleasant when certain people are around, when they approach the sick bed or simply call? A kind of soothing, something invisible, emanates from such people. Have you ever tried to compliment such a person for their radiance? Maybe you were surprised by the answer they gave: "I don't know what you mean. I'm not doing anything special."
The Light that Emanates
And it's true - the light that emanates from this person is not made up - it is real and authentic. His or hers being is natural and trustworthy in such light-filled people. Don't you think that we need these kinds of people now in our time, through whom the light of justice and mercy, peace and reconciliation shines? So, how do we become such light-filled people? Modesty and humility is certainly a good start. But I'm talking about a healthy awareness that great things can happen with God's help and me - even if it will be a difficult path.
The Gospel of Matthew
In the Gospel from last Sunday (Matthew 5:1-12a), Father Urs preached about the beatitudes. Those who are poor in spirit and before God and man, who are small, insignificant, and despised, according to world logic. They are praised by Jesus as "blessed." And this Sunday in our Gospel, Jesus not only praises them as blessed, he says that they are the "salt of the earth" and the "light of the world."
In our First Reading from the prophet Isaiah (58:7-10), this path to becoming a light of the Earth is clearly laid out. He urges: "Share your bread with the hungry, shelter the homeless and oppressed, clothe the naked and do not turn your back on your own. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn and your wound shall quickly be healed." Isaiah invites us to shine. But I don’t think Isaiah is telling us to do good and to brag about it everywhere.
A little further in Matthew’s Gospel in his Teaching about Almsgiving (6:1-4), Jesus says "When you give alms, do not blow a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, to win praise of others. Amen, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your almsgiving may be secret. And your Father who sees in secret will repay you.”
So, dear friends: Jesus simply says: shine - your light must shine before others. Wow.
My Invitation to You
Those who find it difficult to be challenged to shine are invited to think about the following: This special light inside of us, this shining, this light does not shine because of me, it does not belong to me - alone - and it is not for me to keep to myself. This light that Jesus speaks about is given to me for others. So “that they may see your good deeds.” This important addition makes it clear that the good deeds are not done in order to be seen. The "good deeds" are not the "light." The goal of Jesus’s instructions are not to do good deeds – it is all about this light inside of us, the power of his Spirit, that wants to shine through us. And then - through this divine light, our good deeds will be revealed.
Realising this, the final step becomes easy. You know it. It ends up by praising God. “Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father." People are not blessed because of their "good deeds." Friends - they are blessed because they belong to Jesus Christ. Jesus is the light that illuminates and sanctifies the lives of people. Dear sisters and brothers – this joyful message is for the whole world to hear. It is the meaning of our existence: We are called to be light for the world – And we are called to be salt of the earth.
This comes from the bottom of my heart. I wish us all the courage and joy to shine and radiate truly and authentically for God and each other.
Praised be Jesus Christ. Amen