Once upon a time, a lady got employment in a particular cold storage company as a supply manager. Soon everyone in the company could identify her as “the smiling woman” who would always stop to greet anyone she meets. At first, people felt that she was pretending to be nice to certain people, but it later became evident that she is as real as her smiles and care.
One day, she went into the cold storage compartment to take stock for the end of the work day, but unfortunately, the metal door closed behind her. When she finished taking the stock, she discovered that she was locked in. All the workers had gone, and she did not enter the vault with her mobile phone; she got stuck!
After three hours of banging the sound proof door without a response, she started to lose hope and hypothermia pervaded her. She gave up! Suddenly she heard a noise at the entrance of the vault, and immediately the door opened, and she cold see the company security stepping in with a flashlight.
The lady survived the incidence; thanks to the security man. When she resumed work after a week off, she approached the security man and asked him to explain to her why he came to the vault at that point, and this is his response:
I have been working for 35 years in this company. All these years no worker stops by my post to greet me in the morning and say goodbye to me at the end of the day like you are doing. For most of the workers I am nothing; I do not exist. But for you, I am a human being who also deserve some attention though I am not a corporate staff. Every day, I look forward to your greetings, it brightens my day in the morning and gives me hope in the evening. When I did not see you in the evening of that day, I became uncomfortable and decided to look around for you, and that was how I found you in the cold vault.
The moral of the story is very clear. The lady became a light for everyone in the company and particularly for the security man through her smiles, greetings, and attention. What could have happened to her if she did not make such an illuminating impression on the security man? What if she was a snub?
The teachings on the moral and spiritual powers of light have preoccupied our reflections since the nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ, the light of the world (John 8:12). The First Reading today (Isaiah 58: 7-10) tells us among other things that “our light shall break forth like the dawn.” That statement is a consequence of some actions.
The oracle of Isaiah enjoins us to share bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and homeless, clothe the naked, turn towards those in need, then our light shall break forth and when we call on God he will answer us and when we cry he would attend to us.
Often we ask God to bless and prosper us just for doing nothing. Before something comes down from heaven something must go up from the earth. Our lives become more meaningful when it shines forth as a light for others. The Responsorial Psalm tells us that the just man is a light in the darkness to the upright. The light in the passage comes from positive lives and desirable actions.
To become a light for others does not consist in using too many flowery languages and persuasive rhetorics. In the Second Reading (1 Cor. 2:1-5) St. Paul maintains that being light shows itself on a demonstration of Spirit and power of God. We do not speak of being the light, but we become the light.
In the Gospel Reading (Matt. 5: 13-16) our Lord Jesus Christ gives us two important titles that go with so many responsibilities; “You are the salt of the earth” and “You are the Light of the world.” Salt and light are two essential commodities we need in our daily lives. Without salt food is tasteless. Salt also has a lot of healing properties, and it can also be useful as a preservative. As the salt of the earth, we are called to add taste, heal and preserve the earth through our Christian values.
Our responsibility as the light of the world is even more demanding. In the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, “a city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.” This statement shows that all eyes are on us as high placed cities. Often people look up to us to gain moral or spiritual guidance. What messages do we send across to people who see us as their moral or spiritual compass as parents, teachers, guides, superiors and so forth? When the light fails to light what will happen to the city?
Today we are challenged to become the light we wish to see in the world. An old way of saying this would be “do not curse the darkness light a candle.” If every one of us resolved to shine the brightest each of us could, our world would have a greater illumination.
The Gospel Reading talks about lighting a lamp and putting it under a bushel basket. It is a crazy thing to hide a lighted lamp, but that is what most of us do. We hide our lighted lamp when we consciously withdraw love and charity to others (Matt.25:41-46). We hide our lighted lamp when we allow all forms of divisions to wreck our relationship with God and others (Luke 10:27).
On this fifth week in Ordinary time we are invited to light up our lamps and have them sit on stands where everyone would see and appreciate their brilliance. The world is seething in the boiling vat of terrorism, racism, anarchy, hatred, inhumanity and disaffection because people are hiding their lights or do not have lights at all.
Our lights should be our good works and as our Lord Jesus Christ instructs: “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven (Matt. 5:16).
Happy Sunday and have a great week ahead.