Monday, September 20, 2010

A Lamp Is Placed On A Lampstand, So That Others May See The Light.

Memorial of Saint Andrew Kim Taegŏn,
priest and martyr,
and Saint Paul Chŏng Hasang, martyr,
and their companions, martyrs
Reading I
Proverbs 3:27-34
Refuse no one the good on which he has a claim
when it is in your power to do it for him.
Say not to your neighbor, "Go, and come again,
tomorrow I will give," when you can give at once.

Plot no evil against your neighbor,
against one who lives at peace with you.
Quarrel not with a man without cause,
with one who has done you no harm.

Envy not the lawless man
and choose none of his ways:
To the LORD the perverse one is an abomination,
but with the upright is his friendship.

The curse of the LORD is on the house of the wicked,
but the dwelling of the just he blesses;
When dealing with the arrogant, he is stern,
but to the humble he shows kindness.
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Psalm 15
R. The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord.
He who walks blamelessly and does justice;
who thinks the truth in his heart
and slanders not with his tongue.
R. The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord.
Who harms not his fellow man,
nor takes up a reproach against his neighbor;
By whom the reprobate is despised,
while he honors those who fear the LORD.
R. The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord.
Who lends not his money at usury
and accepts no bribe against the innocent.
He who does these things
shall never be disturbed.
R. The just one shall live on your holy mountain, O Lord.
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Luke 8:16-18
Jesus said to the crowd:
"No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel
or sets it under a bed;
rather, he places it on a lampstand
so that those who enter may see the light.
For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible,
and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light.
Take care, then, how you hear.
To anyone who has, more will be given,
and from the one who has not,
even what he seems to have will be taken away."
Throughout the gospel narratives, God is symbolized as light. When they took their infant son to the temple, Simeon told Mary and Joseph that Jesus is the light to reveal God the Father to all nations. They did not understand fully what they were told, but having one’s first baby can be daunting enough; the message that he will reveal God to the nations had to have required immense faith in God’s assistance for the young couple.

At Pentecost the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples as tongues of flame, continuing the mission carried out by Jesus. To this day the Holy Spirit is bringing the light for all nations. The symbol of the Holy Spirit as flame is replayed for us on campus at the beginning of each school year when we celebrate the Mass of the Holy Spirit. St John’s Church is filled with staff faculty and students. (The large number of students who choose to come is always a source of joy and inspiration.) A bowl of flame is carried in the procession and the vestments are red, the banners are reminiscent of flame and candles are lit throughout the church. It is a Mass of celebration, anticipation, and hope for the new academic year when we ask for the wisdom, courage, and guidance of the Holy Spirit to be with us.

In today’s gospel, Jesus tells his followers - and us - that no one who lights a lamp hides it but rather lets it radiate its light. We all have been blessed with the light of Jesus. He has made his father known to us and has brought his father’s light to us. What an awesome and humbling gift that is. It is also a gift that comes with responsibilities for sharing it with others.

Sometimes, we may want to keep that gift of light for ourselves or hide it from the world. We may mistakenly think that somehow we deserve that gift, but there is nothing that we do that makes us deserving of God’s love. It is a gift freely given to all of us. It is a gift that cannot be savored in a selfish way; it has to be allowed to radiate beyond us to all others that we encounter.

It is not easy to share our gift of light when we feel slighted by someone and we are angry. Other times it may not be easy when we are afraid of what someone else might think of us if we take a public stand and live our lives according to the teachings of Jesus. Some days, it may be a bigger challenge to share our gift and other days there may be a series of smaller challenges that are hardly noticed because we are so tied up with the demands of our daily lives. But, Jesus has called us to let the glory of his father shine so that all who encounter us may see his father through us.

Jesus, thank you for the gift of your light. Grant me the strength and courage to overcome my very human frailties so that I might share the joy of your gift of light in all that I do and with all whom I encounter.

Susan Tinley
School of Nursing
Daily Reflection
Creighton University's Online Ministries
During the persecutions of 1839, 1846, 1866, and 1867, one hundred and three Christians in Korea gave their lives as martyrs.  Among them were Father Andrew Kim Taegon, first Korean priest and pastor, and the lay apostle Paul Chong Hasang.  The martyrs included bishops and priests, but for the most part, they were members of the laity.  They consecrated the rich beginnings of the Church in Korea with their blood.

"I urge you to remain steadfast in faith, so that at last we will all reach heaven and there rejoice together." 
Saint Andrew Kim Taegon
Final exortation to his companions

1 comment:

Sarah in the tent said...

'No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed'

This struck me today because, in fact, my husband has his bedside light on the floor so as not to disturb me when he reads late at night - he actually does set his lamp under the bed! Sometimes, despite his consideration, I wake in the middle of the night to an eery glow shining out beneath my side of the bed, as though a small alien craft has just landed down there - it's quite unnerving!

Someone who is wakeful might hide the light so as not to disturb sleepers. A group of conspirators, meeting by night, might quickly hide their light under a bowl when they hear someone outside who could betray them, lifting the bowl off again when the coast is clear.

Jesus' words come after His enlightening of the disciples about the parable of the sower. He has told them that they understand the secrets of the Kingdom; now he seems to tell them that they are to bring these secrets to light for everyone, not worrying about waking people up from their spiritual sleep, nor about what their enemies might do. Perhaps the warning ('anyone who has not, will be deprived even of what he thinks he has') is spoken in prophecy to Judas Iscariot.

Sometimes we hide the light because we are fearful or do not want to cause any disruption. The light might call people's attention to what is hidden and secret, and then we would have to try and explain. Even the disciples, who were 'granted to understand the secrets of the kingdom' sometimes struggled, so what hope have we?

Our hope is the light itself. We just need to proclaim Christ crucified and God will do the rest.