Sunday, January 22, 2017

Being Christ's light: here are 3 ways (Sunday homily)

Every year at this time the Archdiocese kicks off 
its annual Catholic Ministries Appeal. 
The Archbishop sends out a recorded message, 
and invites pastors to play it at Mass. 
While I’m happy to help the Archbishop, 
playing a recording can be a little awkward, 
and sometimes, hard to hear. 

So what I’ve done in the past is to incorporate 
as much of the Archbishop’s homily into my own. 

The readings we heard today emphasize light and darkness – 
and the invitation for us is 
“both to follow the light and to be the light.”

“The people who walk in darkness have seen a great light.” 
This sentence from the Book of Isaiah in today’s first reading 
refers to a light much more profound than any torch or lamp. 

As the Archbishop explains, this passage, 
“Written more than eight centuries before Christ…
comes from a section of Isaiah 
known as the Immanuel Prophecies. 
In these twelve chapters the prophet of Israel looks ahead 
to a savior who will free His people 
from the yoke of oppression and bring great joy. 
The Church, beginning in the New Testament itself, 
has always seen the Immanuel Prophecies as applying to Jesus.” 
St. Matthew obviously makes that connection by quoting Isaiah.

We might recall what Jesus says in the Sermon on the Mount – 
speaking to all who follow him: 
“You are the light of the world . . . 
your light must shine before others, 
that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” 
So the light is not Jesus alone, 
but Jesus with his mystical Body – all of us. 
Christ is light in us, and each of us bears that light to the world. 

Think about that: there are a lot of implications in that. 
If I am bearing the light of Christ, what makes it burn brighter? 
What will nourish that flame – and what dims it?

And, to quote the Archbishop again: 
“Who can doubt that our increasingly secular world today 
desperately needs that light? 
In the face of poverty, crime, addiction, ignorance, despair, violence, 
discrimination, and injustices of all kinds, 
we are all called to be disciples making disciples. 

“Tens of thousands of you throughout the Archdiocese 
do that every day by giving generously of your time and talent 
as volunteers in schools, parishes, athletic programs, 
hospitals, prisons, and other areas of need. 
This is both discipleship in action – letting your light shine – 
and good stewardship of God’s gracious gifts.”

Going beyond what the Archbishop said, there are two particular ways 
that task of being Christ’s light might stand out to us at this moment. 

Today is the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, 
the 1973 Supreme Court decision that imposed abortion on demand 
on our country. 

On Friday, hundreds of thousands of Americans 
of all ages and backgrounds will go to Washington 
to bear witness to the urgency to protect all human life; 
including many from our area. 

Many more will take part in prayer vigils and gatherings 
around the country. 
There is a prayer vigil in Sidney on Sunday evening at 7 pm, 
at the courthouse, for example.

As important as this is, this task of light-bearing 
is needed every day, everywhere we go. 
One very powerful way you and I can be light and hope 
is to support and help to women who are facing difficult situations, 
to avoid making a terrible choice. 

Moreover, nothing is more Christ-like than when you and I 
wrap our arms lovingly around those who make this decision, 
and help them find God’s mercy and healing. 

If you know anyone bearing this burden, please tell them:
God’s mercy is without measure! 
Of course the sacrament of confession 
gives us this mercy from the source.
But also tell hurting people about Project Rachel,
Which exists to bring healing to wounded women and families. 

There’s another way our role as being light stands out today, 
and it’s in the context of a new president and a new chapter 
for our country. 

It’s our duty to give voice to values of human dignity, for all people. 
Important decisions will be made in the months ahead. 
Don’t be a spectator; it’s your task and mine 
to bring the word of God and the ways of God into those decisions.

By ourselves, each of us is limited, 
and perhaps you think you haven’t much to offer; 
you don’t have the time. 

This is where the Catholic Ministries Appeal is so powerful. 
It is the combined impact of hundreds of thousands of Catholics 
in 19 counties of the Archdiocese – that’s a mighty force! 

Let’s recall what the Catholic Ministry Appeal enables us to do:
feed the poor 
take care of retired priests 
ensure a Catholic presence on local campuses, prisons, and hospitals 
provide for evangelization efforts  
help students at St. Rita School for the Deaf
support vocations of priests, deacons, lay ministers

Let me conclude by quoting the Archbishop once more: 

“Those who carry out these ministries and programs 
are grateful on a daily basis 
for your participation in their work through your generous donations. 
As Archbishop, I share that gratitude. 
Thank you for being a light in the darkness.”


Anonymous said...

I always look forward to reading Fox News Sunday edition. This Sunday is no different. Much better than the other stuff in print!

Kneeling Catholic said...

on another note, Father, did you see President Trump put in a plug for this Weekend's March for Life?

Fr Martin Fox said...


I'm glad for anything good from the President. I wish him well.

But, don't you think it is really rude of you to ignore completely the content of this post? I mean, how difficult would it have been to have made some comment that was on-topic? And then, to make things worse, post a link to your own blog? It boggles the mind.

rcg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
rcg said...

Sorry to post then delete it. Had too many self-inflicted errors. (There is a special place in he'll for autocorrect).

I like giving to the Appeal beacuse it hits a few bases that seem to get overlooked. I wish I could give much more to the retirment homes for religious. They tend to live longer than average so need longer care than most. This has often gotten me to thinking about the value of their example so I like supporting them.