Reflecion for Sunday – January 22, 2017

Readings: Isaiah 8:23—9:3; 1 Corinthians 1: 10-13, 17; Matthew 4: 12-23
Preacher: PJ Ryan

As you and I journey forward in this new year I ask you to think back for a moment in order to make better our forward steps.

Take a moment now and recall a favorite teacher or two that you have encountered. Also, take a moment to recall someone you consider to be a hero.

Our teachers and heroes are an important part of who we are and who we are becoming. Through them a light has shone in us and others. In the words of this weekend’s scripture, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light.” Not only have they and we seen a great light but are all called to be a light for one another.

We are challenged by the light we have received and are missioned to share our light with and for others. As Matthew’s Gospel tells us, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.

Jesus is the light of and for the people who sit in darkness…we have seen and felt within us that great light. We are called individually and as a community to shine on and bring light to all we encounter. And in this light we will not only discover the presence of the Lord but will come to realize that we too are becoming the presence of the Lord. In the words of the Prophet Isaiah: “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.”

We have only to read a newspaper, turn on a TV, or go online, to realize that there is plenty of darkness in the city, state, country and world in which we live. We live in the 2nd poorest city for children in the United States, we lose nearly 1,000 Americans to drug overdose monthly; and we certainly have reason for caution when traveling within or beyond our borders. However, the Good News starts with Genesis: And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and God separated the light from the darkness. And then, as St. John says, “I am the Light of the world; those who follow me will not walk in the darkness, but will have the Light of life.”

Even though all of us are individually called to be a light to and for this world, the vast majority of us will not be “spotlights” or “supernovas.” However, we are genuinely called by our relationship to God and one another to be part of a community of faith that in turn must grow stronger and brighter in order to shine brightly wherever and whenever it encounters darkness.
Thank you Lord for shining your light through the life teachers and heroes you have sent to light our ways and guide our lives.

In the 1980s I was blessed to serve the poor elderly with the Missionaries of Charity and their foundress, St. Teresa of Calcutta. I quote one of the many things I learned from her. “I can do things you cannot, you can do things I cannot; together we can do great things.”

The Lord is my light and my salvation… (Psalm 27)

Paul Ryan
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