How Bright is your Light?

How Bright is your Light?

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The readings from this reflection: Acts 15:1-2, 22-29; Psalm 67:2-3, 5, 6, 8; Revelation 21:10-14, 22-23; John 14:23-29

St. Agnes Easter Vigil. Photo by Dean Curtis

The Book of Revelation shares with us today, “The city had no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gave it light, and its lamp was the Lamb.” As I reflect on Jesus being the Light of the World, the light of my life, and the light that gives meaning to our lives, I could not help but hearken back to the Easter Vigil lighting of the Paschal Candle. From it came the subsequent illumination of the church as our individual candles were lit from it. One cannot get a better visual image of what is expected of us, as followers of Jesus Christ, than to be Christ’s light and life in the world. This illumination of the church represents for each of us the light we are to be in our family, our workplace, and in our environment.

During this Easter Season, I find it enriching to simply sit in church and gaze at the Paschal candle, thanking Jesus for being the true light that drives away all darkness. I sit and ask myself, “How can I better bring Christ’s light and life into the world?” It seems as if our world always has a dark cloud over it…COVID concerns, countries fighting against one another, the constant political unrest, and all the philosophical differences on just about every subject under the sun that, seemingly, must be aired over all the social media outlets. We can and must be better than this. But how?

One answer lies in today’s gospel reading, “The Advocate … whom the Father will send in my name will teach you everything.” All too often we do not realize the Holy Spirit’s action in our lives. By virtue of our Baptism and Confirmation, we must embrace the gifts and fruits the Spirit has graciously given to us. Bishop Robert Barron has a YouTube video describing the fruits of the Holy Spirit and he asks a very penetrating question at the very beginning of the video; “Are these things happening in your life?” Am I a person living the virtues of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control? I have had to take Bp. Barron’s question to heart and realize that some of these fruits of the Spirit I am not living as I should. As a result, I am not bringing the light of Christ into our world as I should.

Living these fruits allows Christ’s light to shine from us into the world which drives out the darkness of hate, jealousy, rudeness, immorality, and the like. We learn how to better love and care for one another. We become a light. We become more selfless. We become a force for good and are willing to confront that which is wrong. We learn how to find the common ground when differences are present.

The early Christian community had differences but learned to come together in loving dialogue. We see this in today’s first reading from the Acts of the Apostles. The leaders of the Christian movement came together in Jerusalem to discuss whether strict adherence to circumcision and dietary law were necessary. This meeting of Paul, Peter, and many other church leaders was the first ecumenical council; the Council of Jerusalem. I am so thankful that our Catholic Church, over the centuries, has convened councils to tackle the tough issues that were present at that time.

On this 6th Sunday of Easter, the Good News of our scriptures compels us to look interiorly and make an honest evaluation. Are we bringing the Light of Christ into our marriage, family, community and world? We must do as Jesus asks each of us to do … to be a light. “You are the light of the world … your light must shine before others” (MT 5:14, 16).

Deacon Kiblinger serves in St. Vincent de Paul Parish, Cape Girardeau, where he is the RCIA Coordinator