Father David's Reflection for Tuesday of Week Ten (Ordinary Time)
(Also the Feast of St Barnabas: Acts 11:21b-26; 13:1-3; Psalm 98:1; Matthew 5:13-1)
Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.
Ministry is essentially surrender to letting God express himself in and through our physical human actions. The light we are sent to share is the truth of God that we know by sharing in God’s own act of knowing. This is the gift of divine faith. But God’s light has to be translated into words (or actions) to be understood. To make that translation for others is ministry.
Ministry does two things: it gives life to others and to ourselves, and it gives glory to God.
We quoted Francis above: “Life grows by being given away, and it weakens in isolation and comfort” (Joy of the Gospel, 10). Shakespeare said it too: “The quality of mercy is not strained… It is twice blest; it blesseth him that gives and him that takes…” And John, speaking of Jesus, uses light and life interchangeably: “In him was life, and the life was the light of all people (1:4).
True ministry we also “glorify our heavenly Father.” Saint Irenaeus, (130 A.D., Second Bishop of Lyon), said, “Life in humans is the glory of God; the life of humans is the vision of God.” He meant that the light of the knowledge of God, shining in and through humans, is God’s glory. So to communicate that light to others through ministry is to glorify God.
But to do that, we have to give expression to what we know. If we are too hung up to express our faith, or to explain it, we are hiding God’s light—and his glory—under a bushel basket. We do the same when we are too reserved to show our religious feelings—for example, when we won’t sing, or sing enthusiastically, in church. To “damn with faint praise” (see Alexander Pope "Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot") is commonplace in Catholic congregations. Rabbi Heschel said, “To be moderate with God is a profanation.” To celebrate Eucharist apathetically is an insult.
Jesus said of us, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.” Paul says it is “through him”—in and through Christ as his body on earth—that “we say the ‘Amen’ to the glory of God.” We can, and we should, let Jesus say it with us, in us, and through us.
Meditation: Every time you say “Amen!” at Mass, or after any prayer, try to be conscious that Jesus is saying it with you and in you.