“You are the light of the world.”
(Jesus tightens the screws, as he always does.)
Preached February 9, 2020
by Fr. Cassian OCSO
“You are the light of the world.”
Last Sunday we heard the words of Simeon as he held the infant Jesus in the Temple: “My eyes have seen a light for revelation to the Gentiles and the glory of your people Israel.” The light Simeon proclaimed is the same light we proclaim at Easter: Christ our Light.
Today we hear that we are the light of the world. How can we be the light that is Christ?
I believe there are at least two ways that we shine Christ into the world.
Isaiah tells us of one way: our “light shall break forth like the dawn” and “light shall rise for us in darkness” when we “Share our bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless; clothe the naked; remove from your midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech; satisfy the afflicted.”
We recognize in these actions the corporal acts of mercy. Using our reason and will, we put virtues into practice, and, reflecting Christ, we bring light to the world.
Jesus tightens the screws, as he always does. Beyond the corporal acts of mercy he commands other acts of mercy, the ultimate being to love our enemies. Truly, the love of enemies is light in the world.
Through us God’s power works. “Enemies speak to each other again, adversaries join hands, and peoples seek to meet together. Hatred is overcome by love, revenge gives way to forgiveness, and discord is changed to mutual respect.”
Paul tells us another way that we bring light to the world. He came to the Corinthians “in weakness and fear and much trembling” with the resolve “to know nothing . . . except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” To know nothing but Jesus crucified is to empty ourselves as Christ emptied himself by becoming obedient even to the point of death. As St. Aelred says about us Cistercians: “Our Order is the cross.”
Following this way, we are conformed to Christ.
This is the path of dispossession lived by Patriarch Anthenagoras in his war against himself, “when we are disarmed and dispossessed of self. If we open our hearts to the God-Man who makes all things new then He takes away past hurts and reveals a new time where everything is possible.”
This is the oblation of Teresita who offered herself as a holocaust to the inundation of the merciful love of the Trinity in order to live a perfect act of love.
This is the nothingness of Mary: “Be it done unto me according to your word.” Mary “has absolutely nothing whatever that she attempts to possess as her own, so that she can most fully communicate to the rest of us the grace of the infinitely selfless God.”
In this way we are dispossessed with Jesus in Gethsemane: “Not my will but yours.”
Divesting ourselves of our need to be right, giving up our gifts and riches, no longer asserting our own ideas and projects, we open up what we have closed off. Flannery O’Connor has said that even our virtues will be burned away.
Christ, alive, shines through the emptiness we have hollowed out.
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You Are The Light Of The World.” (jesus Tightens The Screws, As He Always Does.)
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