This Little Light of Mine

Deacon RayHomilies


In December, I attended the annual All Saints Academy Christmas Show.

Music Teacher Kathy Broderick and Principal Jim Tauzel produced a wonderful show called “Star of Wonder” that featured music, dancing, and comedy culminating in a Christmas Pageant.

The lead characters in this production were the heavenly stars – and the opening song was a medley of two songs performed by a rousing chorus of children – all with star emblazoned black Tee shirts. The kids sang . . .

Look up! Look up!
Look up at the stars what a beautiful sight.
Look up! Look up!
Something’s going on in the heavens tonight.

Then the young stars join in a chorus of

This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine,
This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
let it shine, let it shine, let it shine.

I thought of that wonderful musical as I considered the message of today’s scripture readings.
Both Jesus and the prophet Isaiah and Jesus speak of light –

  • the light that we must keep alive and
  • never hide under a basket . . .
  • The light that burns deep within the human spirit.

Light is such an important image in the Catholic Faith.

In our Baptismal Rite we light an individual candle from the Easter Candle representing the risen Christ and say to parents:

“Receive the Light of Christ.
Keep that light burning in your house-hold
and carry that light for your children
until they themselves can carry the light of Christ into the world themselves.”

It is this light – the light of Faith that helps us through

  • the dark times of our lives . . .
  • the times of uncertainty and confusion;
  • disappointment and despair.

Why is this message of light so important today?

Well, regardless of your political party, these are times of great tension.

  • The people of these United States are divided over the policies of their new president. And the international situation is even bleaker.
  • As in the days preceding the birth of Christ . . a veil of darkness, turmoil and fear seems to cover,
    not only our beloved United States, but the entire world.

We hear in today’s Gospel Jesus referring to us – his disciples as a light to the world. He calls us to be salt to the earth’

Okay, then tell us Jesus, what, if anything, can we as individuals and as Church do to help make things better?

How can this little light of mine,

  • the light of Christ,
  • the light of hope that you’ve told us – conquers darkness,
  • make any difference at all?

The answer is . . . it is making a difference.

  • It makes a difference in your family.
  • It makes a difference in our parish.
  • It makes a difference
    • at your workplace,
    • at the Senior Center,
    • at the Middle and High School,
    • and any place that you choose to let it shine.
  • This Christmas, it made a difference as your gifts to the Candle Project brought cool clothes
    and warm coats to teens who live in poverty
  • And it will make a difference this weekend – in just a few minutes – when our Teens pass the Souper Bowl of Caring.
    • Your spare change will make a difference in the lives of the people who visit the food pantry.

Your little light and my little light is anchored in our faith in Jesus Christ who promised to be with his beloved until the end of the world.

It is that faith that gives us hope, even in times like these.

Last weekend Patt and I drove to in Erie Pennsylvania for the funeral of a friend.

As we entered the city, we noticed a large billboard that was left over from the election.

This billboard read “Vote for Trump. He is our only hope.”

But another could have read . . .

“Vote for Hillary. She will save us from the injustices facing our country.”

Neither billboard would be correct of course.

For Christians know that:

  • Jesus Christ is our only real hope.
  • Jesus Christ is the only Savior we need.

And our commission as His disciples is to:

  • Carry the light that we have received from him on the day of our Baptism into the word.
  • We must be a light to the world.

Especially during times of darkness and division . . .
our lights must be kept burning brightly
for others to see and share.

We don’t need to purchase a billboard share our light.
It is shared . . .

  • anytime we come in contact with,
  • or even pray for another human being.
  • It might be at the store when we treat a stressed out cashier with patience and a kind word.
  • It might be first thing in the morning when we greet our spouse with a pleasant “Good morning.” instead of a growl.
  • We might sincerely complement our kids. . . just for being . . . good kids, or
  • remember to thank Mom for ironing a shirt for us or driving us to school.
  • It might even mean telling Dad you love him . . .
  • or Jotting off a quick note to friends to say you feel blest by their friendship.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus also tells us the importance of collectively letting our lights shine.

“A city set on a hill cannot be hidden” . . .

(at least not when its’ townsfolk each keep a light burning in the window.)

Our collective lights as Catholic Christians, must then, also shine brightly.

Wouldn’t it be wonderful if – when people spoke of the parishioners of All Saints Parish, they’d say . . .

“If you need help, just call on any member of All Saints Parish. Those people really let their light shine.
Every one of them knows that they are blest by God and they can’t wait to share their light with others. Corning wouldn’t be the same without them.”

Isn’t that what Jesus would ask of us?

For if collectively as a parish we let our lights shine,

  • people will see by our welcoming openness to all,
  • and by our generous caring and community involvement

just how happy we are with God’s blessings . . .
and perhaps they would join us in praising God within these Church walls as well.

Let me conclude by sharing again the powerful and inspiring words of the Prophet Isaiah in today’s 1st Reading . . .

“Thus says the Lord: Share your bread with the hungry,
shelter the oppressed and the homeless;
Clothe the naked when you see them,
and do not turn your back on your own.

Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
Your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!
If you bestow your bread on the hungry
and satisfy the afflicted;
then light shall rise for you in the darkness,
and the gloom shall become for you like midday.”