MONDAY HOMILY: Uncovering the Light of the Gospel
The work of evangelization involves removing whatever conceals the light of the Gospel
Pope Francis has a strategy. Intent upon reaching an audience outside the visible bounds of the Church, the Holy Father has been speaking about the Catholic faith in an engaging, challenging, and even provocative manner. His goal? To reach the un-churched, the fallen-away, and the secularists of the modern age.
"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" (Luke 8:16). The work of evangelization involves removing whatever conceals the light of the Gospel. Is there something in our life that obscures the radiance of the Word of God? Have we hidden the truth of the Gospel under our bed because we are afraid of confronting something that needs to change in us? If so, we ought to consider the words of the Lord: "there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light" (Luke 8:17).
Pope Francis' teachings are meant for the faithful as well, and they challenge us not to take our faith for granted or to "domesticate" it to the point that it looses its power.
As ever, the media do not always understand or accurately present the content and context of the Pope's teaching. Reading his actual words, however, we discover a rich theological framework and a sensitive pastoral outlook that challenge us to consider the ramifications of the life of faith in new and lively ways. This is part of the Pope's pastoral strategy.
Jesus had a pastoral strategy as well. While he preached to the multitudes on many occasions, working miracles as catalysts to bring them to faith, the Lord also dedicated a great deal of time to the formation of his closest followers. The apostles were given special attention, and the formation they received was hidden from the rest of the world, for a time.
Jesus told his disciples that "knowledge of the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven has been granted to you, but to them it has not been granted." (Matthew 13:11). Jesus did not present the full power of the Gospel to everyone right away. He taught the crowds gradually, leading them from fundamental truths to more challenging ones.
This was to be a temporary arrangement, however. After the Resurrection, after having been fortified by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the apostles removed the metaphorical vessel under which the light of the Gospel had been hidden, revealing it to the world.
"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" (Luke 8:16).
The work of evangelization involves removing whatever conceals the light of the Gospel.
Is there something in our life that obscures the radiance of the Word of God? Have we hidden the truth of the Gospel under our bed because we are afraid of confronting something that needs to change in us? If so, we ought to consider the words of the Lord: "there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light" (Luke 8:17).
Jesus' words may refer to the particular judgment that we will face at the moment of our death. But they also indicate that God is a God of truth and clarity. "I am the way and the truth and the life," says the Lord (John 14:6). An encounter with Jesus is always a meeting with the truth: the truth about God, about the world, about ourselves.
We should not be afraid of the truth of how we stand in relationship with God. Even if we have fallen into serious sin, the truth of our condition is the first step in our repentance, transformation, and renewal. "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free" (John 8:32).
Jesus is the Light of the World (see John 8:12). His life and Word illuminate the path of holiness. With courage, let us "throw off the works of darkness [and] put on the armor of light" (Romans 13:12).
Fr. Stephen B. Reynolds is the Pastor of St. Theresa Catholic Church in Sugar Land, Texas. You are invited to visit them on the Web at: www.SugarLandCatholic.com.
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for December 2013
General Intention: Victimized Children. That children who are victims of abandonment or violence may find the love and protection they need.
Missionary Intention: Prepare the Savior's Coming. That Christians, enlightened by the Word incarnate, may prepare humanity for the Savior's coming.
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