You are called to be light to the world, right here, right now. Are you ready?
In our readings for the Solemnity of the Epiphany of the Lord, which we celebrate this Sunday, light is the guiding thread that takes us from one end of the Liturgy of the Word to the other. In the Book of Isaiah, darkness covers the earth, a description that will come to mind at the death of Jesus, abandoned on the Cross; it also echoes the beginning of the Book of Genesis. For Israel, exile is a kind of darkness, for they have put their faith in other gods. But Isaiah’s prophecy says they will emerge from this darkness because God has called them to shine forth: Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance. Israel will be a beacon of light to the world, as God infuses God’s people with his light.
And if God is going to fill you with his light – grace – then you have a responsibility to let that light shine. Paul tells the Ephesians that they are stewards of God’s grace, and as such, it is their duty to enlighten those around them about grace, the experience of Christ present, living in them and they in him. The light that fills them must shine so that the mystery can unfold before the world, and all will be revealed before the world. All nations are called to unity, recognizing that God is the God of all: Lord, every nation on earth will adore you, Psalm 72 reminds us. Our job is to point to God’s marvelous justice, revealing it so that all might come to Christ.
Like the magi from the East in Matthew's Gospel, we are participants in a revelation: that the Gospel is for all, God’s love is for all. Having seen the Christ living among us, we are called to be that light shining for all in the darkness of non-belief, a guide to faith for those who have eradicated God from their lives. Overjoyed at seeing the star, we too are called to recognize that God is active in our midst. It is through those of us who have faith that God will shine; we are his ministers, bringing the grace God has placed in us to others, doing homage to the Christ child as we tell the world of the revelation of our Savior, God-with-us, Emmanuel.
This post is based on Fr. Pat's Scripture class.