Daily Reflection
September 25th, 2000
Daniel Hendrickson, S.J.
Philosophy Department
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Proverbs 3:27-34
Psalms 15:2-5
Luke 8:16-18

An Olympic torch once again illumines a path and the city wherein it resides.  For another season of world-sport, the Sydney sky hosts flames of hope as athletes seek to demonstrate their disciplined best.  As an international audience, we observe, seeing the sweat of success and the fatigue of failure.  Gold, silver, and bronze honor the select few, but the fire of that torch burns with a force that glorifies them all.  This, too, we observe.  Nothing about that torch represents the missed moment of competitors dispirited and deflated.  That torch for us, with its bright fire, proclaims a bold message of Olympiad spirit celebrating the women and men of our global community who gather, simply, as the best of athletes.

New York Harbor, too, holds forth the light of a torch.  An icon of both the city itself and the nation that unfolds to its west, the Statue of Liberty declares a message similarly bold.  Held by a determined woman with an arm robed in muscle, the light of that torch promises freedom.  It echoes a cry for dignity sought by those in search of democracy.  Its glow captivates our thoughts and inspires our hearts, telling us not of justice sometimes bankrupted but of achievement and potential as people of America.

We recently gathered as a university community with our own torch.  As a packed St. John’s Church hushed to a momentary silence and voiced song, a single bowl of fire was ushered, step by slow step, toward the altar and into the sanctuary.  Women, men, and Jesuits of the university processed, too, and the Mass of the Holy Spirit once again evoked God to bless this mission and our work with wisdom and insight.  The flames announced God’s grace in our midst, a grace empowering us, as our presider suggested, to daily greet a “Nebraskan dawn” to serve and glorify God.

The Gospel is short today.  A quick two verses and a dose of common sense remind that we don’t light lanterns to conceal the light they provide, but hold them forward to shine and illumine.  The few words of this Gospel add perspective to the parable of seeds, helping Jesus ask his question: “How do you respond to God’s Word?”  It is a question for us today, and it comes to us as Good News.  God loves us recklessly, providing both life and salvation.  As his people we are called to proclaim that reality, doing so with hearts on fire, burning boldly to cast before us light of hope and glory and inspiration.  Just as those instruments of light within our church, of our nation, and from our world community illumine darkness, we are beacons of God’s grace called forth in ways unique and special to glow with the love of that grace.


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