Light Switch Wk 1: Sharing the Light
Sunday 4th Week in Ordinary Time: Light Switch Wk 1: Sharing the Light
Having just finished our homily series called Holy Moments, today we are beginning a new four week series we are calling Light Switch. This will be about switching on the light for others and how you do that.
Today’s gospel passage is called the beatitudes which is a word that means blessings. Jesus tells us we are called to live out these blessings, these beatitudes. Let’s explore that and see what that has to do with the idea of light and you switching on the light for others.
This gospel is not just about Jesus mentioning how we are blessed when we struggle. Jesus is also calling us to live out these beatitudes which is a call to live out the kingdom of heaven, here on earth. When you do that, you become a light switch and switch on the light for others through what we call kingdom living.
What Jesus says about living out the kingdom of heaven, on earth looks radically different from what many others do with their lives. It is a battle between living for the kingdom of self, where you and I try to be kings and queens of our own life and the kingdom of heaven, where Jesus the risen Lord is king.
If we practice kingdom living, we will be blessed. The literal English translation of blessed is happy but the word happy in our day has really lost its meaning. Happiness, to us, is a feeling. A smiley emoji. A red balloon. A warm puppy. This is not what Jesus is talking about.
About being blessed and happy, Psalm 1 says:
Blessed are the ones who do not walk in the counsel of the wicked, Nor stand in the way of sinners, nor sit in company with scoffers. Rather, the law of the Lord is their joy; and on God’s law they meditate day and night. They are like trees planted near streams of water, that yield their fruit in season; their leaves never wither; whatever they do prospers.
What this psalm is saying is that the wise, through their good actions, good because they follow the way of the Lord, will experience rootedness and life. In that way, they are blessed. When we experience God’s blessing we experience a deep, intimate relationship with the Creator of the universe by knowing him through his word and sacraments and living out our lives accordingly.
Most of you are probably familiar with a beautiful blessing from the bible in the book of Numbers. It reads: “The Lord bless you and keep you; The Lord make his face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; The Lord lift up his countenance upon you, And give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26
The blessing of the Lord is that his beautiful face will shine on you. He will lift his countenance to you. Countenance means his face and the expression of his face, another way to say it is God will look up and smile on you. The light that takes away all darkness, that brings warmth, that light will come to you and bring you peace. Peace is translated from the Hebrew word shalom which includes the idea of happiness, right-relationship with God and others, and general well-being. That is what it means to be blessed that God’s light will come to you, you will experience and radiate God’s light, and you will have right relationship with God and others. This blessing comes to those who seek first the kingdom of heaven.
We receive God’s blessing, his light and peace, when we live for the kingdom of heaven. This is called kingdom living. Jesus’ call for kingdom living is for all his followers, including you and me. Followers of all ages. Right now. We are to be humble, meek, hungering for righteousness, merciful and peacemakers. Not when you get to high school. Not when you go to college. Not when you get the right job. Not when you get married. Not when you finally retire. Right now, we are called into kingdom living. Today. And every day for the rest of our lives.
The catechism of the Catholic church tells us that to fulfill the Father’s will, Jesus ushered in the kingdom of heaven on earth (CCC #763), and we are called to bring about a fuller realization of the kingdom of heaven on earth by practicing kingdom living by being humble, meek, hungering for righteousness, being merciful, and being peacemakers.
In just a few weeks we will provide you with an excellent, and safe way, to practice kingdom living with a group of people you can trust. We will be beginning our newest small group series for Lent called “Restore.” It is free, no cost to you. It is a wonderful opportunity to speak with others about how they live out their Catholic Christianity in today’s world.
Using Restore, Sr. Miriam Heidland invites you on a healing journey discussing many of the same attributes as the beatitudes where you will encounter the tenderness of God’s mercy, the power of his love, and the restoration of your heart and life this holy season of Lent.
Why would you want to be in a small group and why do we have them?
While small groups may seem like a new idea to some, they are actually an ancient practice of the early Catholic Church. Here are three reasons how small groups can change your faith life for the better.
- As the old saying goes, “Faith is caught, not taught.” Small Groups are designed to be safe places where prayer and facilitated personal sharing make it easy to learn more about scripture and faith, discuss questions that come up, share your faith journey to the extent that you wish to, and “catch” the faith of others as you listen and learn about their spiritual journeys.
- You can deepen ties and friendships. Authentic Christian community requires a level of intimacy, which gets lost in larger numbers. Jesus had his own close circle in Peter, James and John. His next circle of intimacy included all of the apostles. You may feel a sense of connection to, or pride in, your parish; but most of us are only able to experience a sense of profound Catholic kinship or friendship with a few, like you will experience in small groups.
- You will gain a greater sense of belonging. Lives are sharpened in small groups where faith and religion are discussed with trusted friends. The experience of Sunday Mass becomes more meaningful when you find yourself worshiping alongside people with whom you share a spiritual connection. A greater sense of belonging for you will lead you to a greater sense of believing.
This is what we want you to know today:
God’s blessings. his beatitudes, come to you when you focus on seeking first the kingdom of heaven. This is called kingdom living. Through kingdom living you will be a light switch and switch on the light of Christ for others because God’s blessing will flow through you into others as you are a light for them, bringing them warmth and peace. Small groups are a great place to experience this and practice it.
This is what we would like you to do today:
Join a small group. Practice kingdom living, experience kingdom living, and find support for kingdom living in our Lenten Small groups called Restore. You will experience God’s blessing there. We encourage you to sign up today. Lent is right around the corner. Just go to www.saintmary.life/restore