Reflecting on Matthew 5:13-16
Darkness. The ancients experienced it in ways we can’t imagine. My friend Erin told me about a scary twenty minutes of her life in a blackout one evening while she was walking home from work in Oakland, California. She was just a few blocks from her house when the street lights went dark. (This, by the way, is the same city in which my cousin was murdered in daylight as she was getting off the city bus 18 years ago.)
All these years later, Erin remembers that penetrating darkness, how immediately she became uneasy, then jumpy, then terrified as she walked the dark neighborhood streets she knew so well. The lights from an oncoming car brought a few seconds of clarity. Of course! That scary figure up ahead is just the open gate to the neighbor’s yard! But then she was plunged into darkness again as the car sped away, and those familiar streets morphed into sinister hiding places for ugliness and evil.
Some people, as Thomas Merton said, are walking around shining like the sun. Every encounter with them makes you feel warm and loved. They are found everywhere, little rays of light adopting children from Haiti, helping gang members recover their lives, getting up at night with the sick baby, loving that troubled adolescent, joyfully teaching the grandchildren their prayers, sitting with the parent who has long forgotten their name, preaching the Gospel and sometimes using words to do it.
And here’s the best part about being the light of the world: Isaiah says that when you shall call, the Lord will answer.
Who are the people you know who bring light?
In memory of Patty Cronin, a light-bearer
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I have come to light a fire on the earth; how I wish it were already burning (Lk.12:49).