At the Presentation in the Temple, Simeon proclaimed the child Jesus “a light to all nations.” Later, the adult Jesus named Himself the “Light of the world.” In today’s Gospel he counsels all of us to be light-bearers. He compares the mission of his followers to that of a lamp so mounted that its light embraces all who enter the house.
The image is a quiet one. It evokes, not a blazing conflagration, but a gentle, welcoming presence. Fidelity to Jesus may at times require heroic public witness, but this parable suggests something more ordinary, more like the conduct recommended in the passage from the book of Proverbs—a life lived each day with generosity, with integrity, and in peace with one’s neighbors. Such a life, of course, requires its own form of patient, persevering heroism.
The “house” in which the lamp is located evokes a world of family, friends and community: the “home” where charity begins, although it does not end there. The light of each modest lamp unites with all the other lamps kindled from the one Source, Jesus, the true Light.
- Sr. Mary O’Brien, C.P.