At Pentecost the Holy Spirit descended on the disciples as tongues of flame, continuing the mission carried out by Jesus. To this day the Holy Spirit is bringing the light for all nations. The symbol of the Holy Spirit as flame is replayed for us on campus at the beginning of each school year when we celebrate the Mass of the Holy Spirit. St John’s Church is filled with staff faculty and students. (The large number of students who choose to come is always a source of joy and inspiration.) A bowl of flame is carried in the procession and the vestments are red, the banners are reminiscent of flame and candles are lit throughout the church. It is a Mass of celebration, anticipation, and hope for the new academic year when we ask for the wisdom, courage, and guidance of the Holy Spirit to be with us.
In today’s gospel, Jesus tells his followers - and us - that no one who lights a lamp hides it but rather lets it radiate its light. We all have been blessed with the light of Jesus. He has made his father known to us and has brought his father’s light to us. What an awesome and humbling gift that is. It is also a gift that comes with responsibilities for sharing it with others.
Sometimes, we may want to keep that gift of light for ourselves or hide it from the world. We may mistakenly think that somehow we deserve that gift, but there is nothing that we do that makes us deserving of God’s love. It is a gift freely given to all of us. It is a gift that cannot be savored in a selfish way; it has to be allowed to radiate beyond us to all others that we encounter.
It is not easy to share our gift of light when we feel slighted by someone and we are angry. Other times it may not be easy when we are afraid of what someone else might think of us if we take a public stand and live our lives according to the teachings of Jesus. Some days, it may be a bigger challenge to share our gift and other days there may be a series of smaller challenges that are hardly noticed because we are so tied up with the demands of our daily lives. But, Jesus has called us to let the glory of his father shine so that all who encounter us may see his father through us.
Jesus, thank you for the gift of your light. Grant me the strength and courage to overcome my very human frailties so that I might share the joy of your gift of light in all that I do and with all whom I encounter.
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