Every Holy Saturday, as the new Easter Candle is lit from the blest fire – we proclaim: Christ our Light! And we respond: Thanks be to God!
At every Baptism when the Godfather lights a candle from the Easter Candle and holds it for their godchild we proclaim: Christ our Light!
And at every Mass, we light candles around the altar, and during this season on the Advent wreath, and display lights on our trees and homes all to remind us: Christ our Light!
At the time of our Baptism – when our Godfather – in my case my father’s brother – Norman – holds our candle for us ---- the priest or deacon says to the parents:
“This child of yours has been enlightened by Christ. They are to walk always as a child of the light.”
So, through our Baptism, we are children of the light. . . and so our next question of Advent to be answered on this 3rd Sunday on our journey to Bethlehem is: how are we to testify to the light? As did John the Baptist.
Perhaps by now, you know that I am going to turn to our other readings in order to answer that question. . .
But first – to testify --- means to give evidence as a witness. If one is to testify – one serves as evidence or proof of something’s existence.
So if we are to testify to the light of Chrsit-- by our words and actions we are to give evidence or proof that we believe the light of Christ has come into the world – and believe that Christ’s light does make a difference – and believe that no matter how dark things get around us or in our world – the light of Christ will NOT be able to be put out.
So, with that in mind, we turn to the Prophet Isaiah –
In a way, this Sunday’s prophecy from Isaiah takes us back to St. Matthew’s Gospel reading for the feast of Christ the King:
“Lord when did we see you hungry and feed you or thirsty and give you drink?” And the king will say “whatever you did for one of these least brothers or sisters of mine – you did for me.”
Isaiah says that because the Spirit of God is upon us – because the light of Christ is within us: we are sent to bring glad tidings to the poor, to heal the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and release to the prisoners.”
We testify to the light of Christ, proclaim its power – by taking care of the least of our brothers and sisters.
And while we do take care of those less fortunate than we are, the 2nd Vatican Council’s decree on the Laity says we should keep these three things in mind:
-First: we are to pay attention to the image of God in the ones who are needy – preserving their freedom and dignity even as they are fed and clothed.
-Second: we are to maintain pure motives as helpers: to remember we are sent to serve – not to dominate.
-And Third: the demands of justice are to be met first thus reducing the need for future charity by eliminating the root causes of the poverty or pain. [Par. 8]
Christians have but one goal, this document tells us – and that is to spread the word about Christ so that all people might share in his redemption and be brought into relationship with God. [Par. 2]
And all of this is best done with a good dose of JOY as St. Paul reminds us in his 2nd Letter to the Thessalonians. As St. John Chrysostom once said: “you can catch more flies with honey that with vinegar!” So Paul tells us: Joy, Prayer and gratitude will help us to not quench the spirit in ourselves or others.
When we give testimony to the light of Christ: saying that light makes a difference in our lives and in the life of the world:
then the God of peace will make us perfectly holy – and we will be preserved in spirit, soul and body – to be blameless for the coming of the Lord.
God who has called us is faithful – and God will accomplish these good things within us because:
Christ our Light! Thanks be to God!
Moments in time...