Wednesday, January 25, 2017


Homily for January 26th, 2017: Mark 4:21-25.

          The short sayings which Mark gives us in today’s gospel immediately follow the parable of the sower and the seed. Much of the seed the farmer in that story sows never comes to fruition. The parable describes the Church’s work in every generation: we fail again and again. Despite all these failures, however, some of the seed we sow falls on good ground, puts down roots, and produces not only an abundant harvest, but a super-abundant one. Jesus told the story as an antidote to discouragement.  

          In today’s brief reading Jesus continues to speak about the good news of the gospel. It is like light, he says, set on a stand at the entrance to a house for all who enter to see. Jesus is telling us that the light of God’s truth is given to us, like all God’s gifts, to be shared. If we don’t share the Lord’s gifts, we lose them. We can’t keep them unless we give them away.

          How do we share the light of God’s truth? We do so first of all and always by the way we live. St. Francis of Assisi used to say: “Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary use words.” People must be able to see that we live by higher standards than those of the world around us, with its emphasis on getting rather than giving; and on repaying injuries according to the slogan, ‘Don’t get mad, get even!’

          Jesus’ final saying seems to terribly unfair: “To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” Jesus is saying that if we truly walk by the light of God’s truth, sharing that light with others – at least by the way we live, when necessary and when possible with words as well – we shall receive more light. But if we keep the light of God’s truth for ourselves, we shall gradually lose that light until we find ourselves walking in darkness.

          Remembering how the Holy Spirit came to Jesus’ friends at the first Pentecost, in the bright light of fiery flames, we pray in this Mass: “Lord, send us your Holy Spirit. Help us to be messengers of your Spirit’s light to others.”