Reflection: Light To the World
Today's reflection compliments of Gary Stoff.
In today’s Gospel, we hear the familiar story of the Sermon on the Mount when Jesus taught His disciples the Beatitudes. Certainly this is a reading we have heard many times – a lesson with which we are all familiar (although we may not remember all the details). This includes a listing of those who are “blessed” and the reward that awaits them:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called children of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
While the above listing seems pretty straightforward, what Jesus says next can be a little disconcerting. “Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.” I’m not so sure I bargained for being reviled and persecuted.
Life seemingly was so much simpler before the age of social media. One could go about one’s daily routine, try to be good and help one’s neighbor, and be blissfully ignorant of much of the world around us. With the advent of social media, however, and 24-hour-a-day news coverage, it is no longer possible to live in a bubble blissfully unaware of the many issues that exist in our world – violence, crime, extremism, social inequity, racial reparations, etc. How does that fit into the lesson of the Beatitudes?
Later in today’s reading, Jesus tells his disciples that they “are the light of the world.” Men do not “light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand and it gives light to all in the house.” So, too, should we let our “light shine before men, that they may see [our] good works and give glory to [our] Father who is in heaven.”
Maybe what Jesus is telling me in today’s reading is that, as His disciple, I, too, can be a “light of the world” in my own way. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I have to be “persecuted for righteousness’ sake” in the normal sense of “persecution.” But maybe it means standing up for what is right because that is what Jesus would do, even if it means being reviled in social media and other forums. Maybe it means asking myself what Jesus would do in a given situation and acting accordingly, because in that way mine will be the “kingdom of heaven.”
Help me, dear Lord, to always listen to You and try to do what You would do to be meek, merciful, pure in heart, and a peacemaker. We all have a “light” to shine. Help me to shine my “light” and thereby give “glory” to our heavenly Father.
Continue to stay safe.
on Monday, June 7 at 12:00AM