As a Boy Scout of 30 years now, I readily admit that I love camping. One of the things I most enjoy is seeing all the stars at night. When you get away from the city lights you can see so many more stars. Sometimes you need darkness in order to see the light. There’s a lot of spiritual as well as astronomical truth behind that. God will sometimes allow us to go through some darkness, but when we let our spiritual eyes adjust, we will be able to see and appreciate the light in a way we hadn’t before.
In today’s readings we are called not just to see light, but to be light… the light of the world! That’s a big challenge. People are often afraid to go out and be light. We all know that as soon as we hold ourselves out to let our light shine, someone will shine a light back at us. Knowing our own brokenness, we shy away from the light. We’d rather keep things hidden.
In the first reading today, Isaiah tells us that when we let our light shine, “Your wound will quickly be healed.” Allowing Jesus, the divine physician to shine his light on our wound and bring it out in the open allows us to be healed. We shouldn’t hide our brokenness or need for help. Bring it to the light.
In the gospel, Jesus uses the image of a city on a hill that cannot be hidden. This means that everyone knows right where it’s at, including enemies. If safety were the main concern, then the safest place for a city would be underground. Hide the entrance and let no one know where you are. But as Christians, we were not made for safety and hiding. We need to shine and not be afraid of the exposure of the mountain top. We’re not alone. We’re protected by a wall. Holy Mother Church and all our Christian community protects us.
So let the light into your darkness. Don’t hide under a basket. Jesus needs you shining up on the mountain top. So let your light shine, and do not be afraid!