February 4, 2020
The Resurrectionist Charism Statement reminds all the members of the Congregation of the Resurrection that they are called “to BE community, which is a living sign of the gospel values or justice, truth and love.” This sentence suggests that the gospel values need to be embodied in some way so that they will be VISIBLE for others to SEE. Jesus maintains the same thing in the gospel today when he urges his disciples to be light for the world and salt of the earth. Interestingly, this admonition comes immediately after the Beatitudes, indicating that the Beatitudes are not mere pious thoughts, but attitudes that need to be embodied in our lives through actions of peace-making, mercy, purity of heart, and poverty of spirit.
The lectionary links the gospel admonition to be light with a reading from Isaiah. This connection again points us to action, for here the Lord provides concrete examples of what it might mean to be light for the world: sharing bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless, clothing the naked, not turning our back on those we know who are in need, and removing false accusations and malicious speech from our mouths.
While small actions that embody gospel values might seem to be insignificant in the midst of global problems, we can choose to be light by living the gospel values concretely in our own circle of influence—among our families and friends, at work and recreation, in neighborhoods, churches, and associations. It is said that on a clear night, a human being can see a burning candle as far as thirty miles away! In taking seriously Jesus’ instruction, we should not underestimate the effect that even one act of charity, forgiveness, or kindness may have in the life of another.