September 24, 2012 - Monday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time

Proverbs 3:27-34
Psalm 15:2-5
Luke 8:16-18

Jesus wants all his little lamps to be shining on lampstands. He did not give us the faith, hope, and love just for our benefit. He wants to show us off. For every person who has faith in this world, a number of others are encouraged in their doubts. For every person who has hope, a number of others are no longer afraid. For every person who has love, a very great number of others are brought closer to God. A real saint does not go through this world without impact. They are like a lamp in a dark place: everyone else is lit up just by being in their presence.

How should we evaluate the Church? If we focus on the great sinners, those who have given real scandal to the Church, our claim to holiness will seem to be debunked. For every St. Francis or St. Therese, there is a wicked person who has given the Church a bad name. But this does not actually balance out. If there is a wicked person in the Church, I am not surprised. There are wicked people everywhere, and the Church’s membership requirements are pretty flimsy. All the wicked people in the world cannot cancel out one Saint. The existence of each Saint is enough to prove the faith. They found something; therefore, there must be something to find.

Just as it is not enough for the Saints to be holy for their own sake, but rather they have to be shining lamps on lampstands, it is not enough for us to see them and enjoy their light, we must take their existence as an invitation to become like them. It is nice to be in the light, it is better to be a light. Is this possible? Absolutely. The graces of God are not reserved for a few chosen people. The thing is to get started. No one can become a Saint overnight. The way is hard. It is very difficult to follow the narrow path between laxity and extremism. No one can become a Saint by their own effort and intellect. The law, the proverbs, all these instructions here are not enough. The end is clouded, but we do not need to see the end, just the next step. Wherever we are on the journey, God, right now, is giving us everything we need to take the next step. To those who have, more will be given.