Saturday, January 19, 2008

Rise and Shine

(2nd Sunday in Ordinary Time, A)

I remember once when I was a little kid our neighborhood lost power because of a storm or something, and for the first time I saw moonlight. I grew up with all of the ambient light of a city, so I didn’t know that the moon shed light. But I remember thinking that the moonlight on the trees and the roofs of houses was beautiful in its softness, its silvery shine, its peacefulness. I told some adult about it and it was explained to me that the moon doesn’t even have any light, but the moonlight we see is the light of the sun reflecting off the moon onto the earth.

I mention this because I think it’s a helpful image in getting at what the Scriptures are saying to us today. If we think of God, the Source of life and light, as something like the Sun, then we are meant to be something like the moon. We are to receive and accept the love of God and reflect it peacefully to each other.

Consider the beginning of our first reading from the prophet Isaiah: “the Lord said to me: You are my servant, Israel, through whom I show my glory.” This is the vocation of the people of God in the Old Testament. They were to be those who received and knew the glorious light of God’s love, and they were to be a shining beacon announcing this one true God. And that brings us right back to the Baptism of the Lord we celebrated last week and that is announced again in the Gospel today. The Holy Spirit descends upon Jesus and the glory of God shines upon him. This makes the person Jesus Christ into the New Israel, the one spoken of by Isaiah, through whom God shines his glory to the world.

Thus we come to our vocation as the body of Christ we receive and become in this Eucharist. Just as the glory of God shone on Christ at his Baptism, so it is the same with us as the Body of Christ gathered here. We are to let the glory of God shine up us, warming our hearts and enlightening our minds. And then we are to reflect that love and glory to each other. It’s like our heart and soul is a little mirror that captures the love of God and shines it out again on the people and situations of our lives. That’s why we make an effort to let go of sins and distractions, so that our little mirror might be clean and be able to reflect God more fully.

That’s our call and our job in this world. As God goes on to say through the prophet, “I will make you a light to the nations, that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth.” The glorious light of God has no way to shine on the earth but through our words, our acts of kindness, our humor, and our smiles. That’s the mystery of the Word made flesh, of the incarnate God. So let’s polish the dust off our hearts, clean out our eyes, and quiet our minds, that we might be able to more fully reflect the love of God that shines upon is in this Eucharist.

Let’s “rise and shine” and become little mirrors of the gentle and glorious love of God.

No comments: