Some think we must hide our Christian acts of love and mercy, but today’s Gospel (you can read the entire passage below) says otherwise. “You are the light of the world…..let your light so shine….” These words of Christ are meant as encouragement to allow our life to be an attraction for others to find Christ. But the same light that can draw people to Christ, can also send them away if we aren’t careful.
When the sun rises, it shines on everything, good or bad, healthy or sick. Here are a few warnings:
- And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. – John 1.5
- For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light. – Mark 4.22
- Therefore take heed that the light which is in you is not darkness. – Luke 11.35
The Light that shines on our acts of love and mercy is the Light of Christ. Therefore Saints are depicted with halos in icons and we burn oil candles in front of them. Christ said, “If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, the whole body will be full of light, as when the bright shining of a lamp gives you light." (Luke 11.36)
As we approach the Nativity Fast (begins November 15th) and the coming of the Light into the world, consider how YOU are allowing YOUR (which is really Christ’s) light shine for others to be drawn to Christ. Don’t be that light which is filled with darkness, but rather the light that leads others out of darkness. As part of your preparations for the Feast of the Nativity, get involved with acts of love and mercy. Spend the resources you save by fasting on those who are in need as St John Chrysostom encourages us. Go ahead and let your light shine!
The Lord said to his disciples, "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5.14-19