Daily Reflection
January 27th, 2000
Michael Lee, S.J.

2 Samuel 7:18-19, 24-29
Psalms 132:1-5, 11-14
Mark 4:21-25

ďIs a lamp brought in to be put under a bushel basket or under the bed, and not on the lampstand?Ē
(Mark 4:21)

Light can be measured in terms of candle-power.  Candles give warm light, a light of hospitality when guests grace our table and a soft light to help us relax.   Did you happen to see candles in the windows of homes just before Christmas?   Those candles threw their beams in a religious light reminding us of the birth of Jesus of Nazareth.  It seems candles are a staple of church services, and for Catholics a vigil light burns around the clock in the sanctuary of every church reminding us of Christís enduring real presence in the blessed sacrament.  Somehow candlelight or lamplight  pleases people.

Saint Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits, says Godís love is like the rays of the sun.   Though a lesser light, candles are like the sun in that their warmth can soothe our spirits and give us a feeling of safety or comfort.  Following the old adage,  ďAllow scripture to interpret scripture,Ē many passages invite us to walk as children of the light following Jesus who is our light and our salvation.

Why then do we sometimes fear the faith and the good gifts that God has rained down upon us?   I am told that Nelson Mandela told his fellow citizens of post-apartheid South Africa that their greatest fear is that they are talented beyond belief.  In other words, we can be afraid to shine and we can hide our good gifts fearing that they will not be reverenced by others.

Yet, the passage from the Gospel of Mark seems to invite us to shine and to share the bright beams of Godís love that brighten our spirits with those who are most in need.  Somehow by shining with Godís gifts to us of joy, faith, hope and love, we can help to exile the heavy, oppressive spirits that burden others.   Allowing our faith to shine against the night is one of the gospelís invitations this day. 

But is this invitation one that each of us might consider bringing into our everyday lives?   Perhaps Godís goodness shines through us in our prayers for those in need or for young people.  Maybe our faith shines by helping a fellow employee with a personal problem and then offering to pray with them.  Possibly it is to invite God into an impossible situation with a family member so that the silences that can grow up between people will be smashed.  Maybe we can shine by taking the time to listen to a child or to an elderly parent. 

The evangelist invites us to place our lamp on a lampstand so that it will give light to all in the house.  How is God this day inviting us through the needs of those around us?

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