Homily of Rev. Paul D. Panaretos, S.J.
The Book of Proverbs alerts us to its purpose: to hand wisdom, ranging over a wide area of both human and divine activity, to the young prince: Hear, my son, your father's instruction, and reject not your mother's teaching. It closes with a king’s memory: The advice which his mother gave him./1/
St. James reminded us that we live according to our Messiah-king’s royal law./2/ The wisdom Jesus reveals also empowers us by his Spirit to make our lives hand wisdom on to one another.
Jesus' image of light, the light of a lamp to illuminate the way we follow him, is personal. We are no less than light for one another and for our world. Our lives make Jesus visible or they don’t. Making Jesus visible does not always happen instantly, like turning on a switch. Often it’s gradual.
Think of stars. Their light travels astronomical distances, and when it reaches us we see their past existence in our present vision. To measure such vast distances we use a time-related word, year, because miles and kilometers are no longer practical measures.
Light-year may not intuitively make much sense when we think of distance. In a similar way, we may not think how we individuals act affects our world let alone another person. Our national heritage of vast freedom may blind us to the effect we can have on a person; and the proportions of the world stage may decrease our confidence in affecting it.
Yet Jesus asks us to take him at his word. Our Living Light, Jesus, has transformed us. How we live him and his light allows others to recognize him, though it may take years. Our Christian living also sheds new light on Jesus and who he is for us each day.
1. Proverbs 1.8 and 31.1.
2. James 2.8.
Wiki-image of Star trails by Chad Miller is used according to the Creative Commons Attribution ShareAlike 2.0 license.