29th January

Today’s gospel is Mark 4:21-25. Jesus said to the crowd, ‘Would youJesus-speaks-to-the-crowd bring in a lamp to put it under a tub or under the bed? Surely you will put it on the lamp-stand? For there is nothing hidden but it must be disclosed, nothing kept secret except to be brought to light. If anyone has ears to hear, let him listen to this.’

He also said to them, ‘Take notice of what you are hearing. The amount you measure out is the amount you will be given – and more besides; for the man who has will be given more; from the man who has not, even what he has will be taken away.’

Here’s the Bible Alive’s commentary.

In a sense Jesus’ teaching in today’s gospel is full of what we call kingdom logic. If you have a lamp, you don’t hide it under a bed; rather you put in on the table to let its light shine. The thought of hiding a lamp under a bed is almost comical [not to mind a fire hazard!]: what is the point of having a light if you are not going to let it shine? The same applies to Jesus himself. He is the light of the world, and the purpose of his light is to shine. He came to illuminate the world with his light. His light brings into the open all that we would prefer to keep hidden or concealed.

The experience of most of us is that when we do something wrong we prefer to hide it away from the light. Why is this the case? Is it because when we sin, we lose our dignity? [Our baptismal garment symbolising purity is stained.] When our dignity is undermined we instinctively hide from the light. We are embarrassed, ashamed and guilty, and so we cant bear the exposure the light would bring. When we think like this, we deprive ourselves of the possibility of enjoying the healing that the light imparts.

We mustn’t be afraid of the light, because once the darkness is exposed our healing begins. For this reason we need not to try to hide our fears and failings, our weaknesses and insecurities, but let the light of Christ illuminate every corner of our lives, enabling the warmth of his healing compassion to flow into our hearts, renewing and restoring us.

Pope Francis in the encyclical Lumen Fidei, encouraged us to draw near to Christ so that his light may shine ever more brightly in our lives. How can we help his light to shine this year? By choosing to live for Christ each day; by inviting the light of Christ into our lives and letting him show us the way to repent of our sins and to find healing. In the sacrament of reconciliation we allow the light of Christ to shine into our inmost being, convicting us of sin and leading us towards forgiveness and healing.

Lord, let your light shine on me. Let your kindly light expose the darkness of sin and heal my wounds. This year I will respond wholeheartedly to the call to follow you, the Light of Life and the Light of the World.