Yesterday, in his homily, Fr. Jim made a statement that is so obvious, I usually miss it. When Jesus was teaching his disciples on the Mount he did not tell them to “be” the light of the world. He told them, “You are the light of the world.”
There is a big difference between the two.
If Christ were to have told them to “be” the light of the world, it would have been an apsirational teaching. It would have been a declaration of a goal we should have for ourselves. When we are told to “be” something that means that we are not that thing yet. But, Christ told them not what they should be, but what they already were.
”Are” is a very existential word. Just as God declares “I Am” he also tells us here ”You are.”
How many of us feel like we “are” the light of the world? And, how many of us would be so arrogant as to say that we “are” the light of the world? Not many I would guess. But, maybe that is because we do not want to be. We are much more comfortable having a goal we cannot obtain than we are in living out the reality of what we are. If we simply wish to “be” the light we can escape the obligation that comes with actually being light. Perhaps that is why Christ admonishes us not to hide our light under a bushel, but to put it on a stand and give light to everyone in the house.
After all, a light is what it is. It cannot “be” anything else. The only thing we can do with the light we are is choose what to do with it. Hide it or let it do that which does by its very nature.
You are the light of the world. People do not light a lantern to put it under a box. They light it so that everyone can see it and see by it. Let your light so shine for everyone so that they will see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven.