These words from Jesus are very important to our understanding of our calling as followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus is telling us here, as believers, that we are to be the light for those who are still lost in the darkness of ignorance about Jesus and the Way.
Irenaeus, one of the early church martyrs, put it this way, “The glory of God is the human being fully alive.” We are fully alive if we live in Christ. If we believe in him and live our daily lives in accord with his commands we will be fully alive. Jesus is the light of the world. If we believe in him, and his commands for us, we are to be his light in our own daily worlds. We are to share his light in our own times, in our homes, in our neighborhoods, in our places of school or work.
Our faith in Jesus is not to be a private thing. It is not to be hidden, rather, our very lives must be lived publicly in such a way as to seen clearly. Our lives ought to be like a beacon, a lighthouse on the all too often dark shores of this world. We are to show others what a Christian life is supposed to look like. When others look at us they ought to be able to see humility, compassion, purity of heart, and real mercy. They should see in us a hunger for righteousness and peace. As Jesus says, “Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (verse 16)
When we read the Beatitudes we see a road map for how to be in the world. We see their wisdom, but we also know, intimately, how far we are away from them, and we instinctively realize how hard it is going to be to develop any one of those habits that are so contradictory to the habits and temptations of the world we live in on a daily basis. But we also know, in faith, that Jesus does not ask the impossible of us. God made us for this. He gave us intellects to come to know him and wills to choose him and his Way. He does not ask us to do what is beyond our nature and abilities to accept and to live. When we choose in our heart and freely will to begin the work on developing these habits, the grace of God come to us in abundance. His grace is unlimited. His patience is infinitely enduring. His love is unconditional. And, when we accept all of this, we are ready then to be his light in our own little part of this world. The world needs this light. The world needs Christian believers who are fully alive in the light of Christ. We are to live the light of our faith openly through our good works of mercy, compassion, and peace, so that others may see the glory of God through us and be drawn to it. When we are fully alive with the light of faith, we are like lighthouses showing others the way home to Jesus.
Lord, strengthen us in our faith so that our lives can become like bright candles in the darkness for those who are lost and searching for the light in their lives. Give us the graces we need to develop the beatitudes in our lives. We pray these things in the name of Jesus. Amen!
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