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Always Drawing Closer to Light

October 13, 2014

Monday, September 22, 2014: Twenty-fifth Monday in Ordinary Time. 

Proverbs 3:27-34.  The curse of the Lord is on the house of the wicked..

Luke 8:16-18. A lamp is placed on a lampstand so that those who may enter may see the light. 

 

Gospel Reflection:

I keep getting this set of readings and this Gospel to reflect on every year.  Either I need to learn and improve something in my life (more than likely!), or I am on the mark, and this is a topic we all need to take home and pray about!

When I was younger, my family and two others went to Lake Shasta for summer vacation. It was a kid’s paradise: houseboat, swimming & waterskiing all day; just relaxing in the sun.  What could be bad?  Except, we were teenagers, and invariably, after a week of this, we finally, collectively, said, ‘There’s nothing to do!’

So one of the dad’s took us to the Shasta Caverns and signed us up for the special spelunking tour – the one that went off the beaten path of the regular tour. And we were in luck: our guide was excited to see what we could do.  So exploring we went, and down we crawled.

We got to the very bowels of the cavern, and ended up in a small cave. Our guide told us to douse our head lamps, and to wait for our eyes to try to adjust. He asked us if we thought this was total darkness, to which we agreed: you could not see the fingers in front of your own eyes.  We then turned on our lights, and he showed us a cherry pit – something he had dropped from a snack – at the cave floor.  Here in the absence of all light, beyond all hope, the seed had sprouted anyway, and grown to 4 inches.  We were amazed then, as I am still amazed – I haven’t thought much of that story in over 35+ years.  Until I prayed about today’s Gospel.

In Lumen Gentium, Pope Paul VI declared, “those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience – those too may achieve eternal salvation.”  We as Christians must be there to assist in all ways possible.  The love of the Creator shines through the darkness, as the Light of Nations, all nations.  God’s love is imprinted on all hearts, and is awaiting discovery – like a seed in the dark.

A year ago, the Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis, made some headlines with some statements – and, not surprisingly, has made more statements in recent weeks still – that has left many people abuzz in speculation. I was riding the MAX train, praying a Rosary, when a stranger guessed ‘Catholic’ and interrupted me. What did I think about all of this? I smiled – as best I could with two-and-a-half decades left – and gathered my grace and thoughts. I responded, ‘that many people take what is said to fit their designs. What I believe the Holy Father was telling us – and many media types misunderstand so he is still telling us – was that, frequently, we concentrate on this sin is bad, and we need to do this about those sinners and we need to reform this or that law, which indeed is in line with what the church teaches, certainly, but what we should focus more on is loving this person, and showing mercy to that person as God would. How would Christ love them? How would Christ show mercy? Would he exclude any from his love? Certainly not!  If we did this, primarily, this Light shining in the world would not just change this country, it would change the world.  Ah, it’s difficult – very difficult.  But if we all try individually, then our community of individuals can make things happen…

In today’s Gospel, Luke tells of the lamp that is to shed its light on the Gentiles who are entering the kingdom. We are encouraged to continue to be receptive to the word of God, and importantly – urgently – keep looking for signs of life – and hope – in the world.  We are standing at the brink of uncertain times in our world.  Do we vote this way, or that?  Do we retain our Constitutional, religious rights, or are they denounced and devalued?  Will we lose our homes, or jobs, or future in these difficult times?  Will the left and right continue to fight and draw further apart, or will reason and necessity draw us together?  One never knows these things.  And so we do what we can do.  Continue to proclaim Christ the Light of the world, aid the humble spoken of today in the Scripture from Proverbs – the Anawim – continue to help others draw closer to hope, go out from here – today and every day – and announce the Gospel, be the Gospel.

Even in the darkness there is life.

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