Christ, Be Our Light
This reflection, based off 1 Peter 2:4–9, was originally delivered at the Saint John’s University School of Theology midday prayer on January 15, 2015.
Quite a bit has happened since the beginning of winter break. We felt the triumph of finishing a semester. We exchanged lots of hugs and probably some unfortunate-looking sweaters with family and friends over the holidays. Hopefully we relaxed, took a break from writing and grading.
And since our last meeting, some 2,000 people have been slaughtered by a militant group in Nigeria. Terrorists attacked a French newspaper, killing 17. And an AirAsia plane carrying 162 passengers vanished into the middle of the Java Sea.
Light and darkness, darkness and light … our world constantly treads this tension. It can be tough because sometimes the darkness seems to loom so much larger.
But … there is hope … because right in the thick of it all … is Christ.
“Christ’s life was the light of the human race.” We heard from John’s Gospel on Christmas day. The church just finished a whole season of celebrating the coming of Christ’s light into this world. Our world. Our broken, needy world.
Christmas is about the Word who became flesh … and the Word who is still flesh. Who is very much alive in this Body. That incredible reality means something for our lives today, always, whether we’re in the season of Christmas or not.
The church has transitioned into Ordinary Time now, but we’ve got to keep the Christmas light shining. That world out there? It needs our light! As we heard today, we — you, me — are a “chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people of Christ’s own.” We have Jesus Christ, the light of the world, as our cornerstone — and that means we are missioned to shine brightly.
With Christ as our cornerstone, we can do a lot of good.
We can risk listening with the ear of our hearts because Christ charges us to be his eyes and ears, his hands and feet, in a world thirsting for justice.
We can commit to letting all be received as Christ because those acts of hospitality form relationships and promote the dignity of the human person.
With Christ as our cornerstone, we can talk and act in such ways that in all things we do God may be glorified because we have an incarnational God whose love and hope needs to be spread.
My friends, we have been called out of the darkness of this world to shine in Christ’s wonderful light.
There is nothing ordinary about that.