25 Sept 2017: Torch Bearer

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Monday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Reading 1: Ezr. 1: 1-6; Gospel: Lk. 8: 16-18

Introductory Prayer: Lord, you dwell in brightness, truth, and love. Nothing makes sense without your love. Without you, Lord, insipidity invades people, things, and events. I believe that you are my refuge and the source of my happiness now and forever. I am convinced that your promises will be fulfilled sooner or later; this is why I prefer a single day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere. Today’s readings help us to dwell on three important points.

1. Torch Bearers: There are advantages to carrying a torch in the dark. This common knowledge informed our Lord’s address and helped him propose it to his listeners. At night, a torchbearer sheds light so that all who are with him can walk confidently, without stumbling along a dark path. Time is not wasted stepping insecurely and hesitantly; rather, the whole group walks purposefully and goes quickly where it needs and wants to be. When a group has a torchbearer, all in it are relieved, including the torchbearer himself. This is the value of my faith to a highly secularized society. Do I nurture and appreciate the gift of faith that I have received from God? Am I afraid to allow its light to shine?

2. Wisdom at its Best: Jesus affirms, “For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light.” When I am not praised and recognized by others, I might feel sad or forgotten. This is when I need to shine a lot of light to get out of that black hole. Do my good works seem to go unperceived? The Lord himself will expose them on the judgment day. The more they are hidden from others now, the more merits I will gain before God. All secrets will be cracked open in the future. My duty is not to crack them open now, but to keep them hidden and to be a torchbearer for the journey to that place of eternal reward.

3. A Rewarded Success: “To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away.” Here Jesus plumbs deeper into what we have already reflected on.  “To anyone who has” obviously refers to the torchbearer who has successfully led his band of friends. He will be entrusted with more responsibility, or simply respected by the others. “And from the one who has not”: The torchbearer who can’t keep his flame alive will be ousted. He will be taken away. Do I staunchly live the fire of the faith, or do I hesitate in witnessing to his love?

Prayer: Lord, help me to be a wise torchbearer. Do not allow laziness and presumption to distract me from the essential task of keeping my lamp filled with oil at all times. Lord, give me a robust faith!

Resolution: In my conversations today, I will bear witness to the light by avoiding all slanderous talk, and I will elevate the topics of conversation by saying things that could inspire others to praise God. 

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