Homily for September 19th, 2016: Luke 8:16-18.
Jesus spoke in simple, everyday language that even children could understand. What could be simpler than the image of light which Jesus uses in today’s short gospel reading? The first creation tale in Genesis says that creation began when God said: ALet there be light.@ When, in the fullness of time, God=s Son came into the world, he said: AI am the light of the world.@ (John 8:12) Pondering those words, and the story of creation in Genesis, Christians came to discern Christ=s role in creation. Hence we say in the Creed: AWe believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, ... through whom all things were made.@
How dark the world would be if he had never lived! In Matthew’s gospel Jesus says: AYou are the light of the world.@ He doesn’t tell us to become the world=s light. As followers and friends of Jesus Christ, given a share of his life in baptism, we already are light for the world. ABe what you are!@ Jesus is saying.
Does that mean isolating ourselves from modern society, with all its darkness and evil? Some Christians favor that. They are well-meaning and good people. But they are mistaken. To isolate ourselves from others is like putting the lamp which lighted the small one-room house of Jesus= day under a basket. The people who heard Jesus knew that wasn=t what you did with a lamp. You put it on a lampstand where, as Jesus says in today=s gospel, Aeveryone who comes in may see it.”
Here at these two tables of word and sacrament the Lord first takes us up into his light and then sends us forth to pass on that light to others in a dark world, through a life of joyful service and generous love.