Reflection: Shine Your Light

by Father Don Thomas

In the fifth chapter of Matthew's gospel, we are taught that a man does not light a candle and then put it under a bushel basket. On the contrary, it is to be put out in the open where all can see it, like the city standing on a hill, to be seen by everyone. The light stands for our example, our witness. All of us are – challenged to let our light shine against the dark, and the challenge comes from God, through Christ His Son, our parents, teachers, ministers and others. God wants us to stand up to be seen and to make our mark in life, and this can be done so easily by having the courage and wisdom to let our light or example shine for Him.

God is like any loving father who points out to his children that life is like a road, paved with joys and tears, with success and failure. In journeying along the road of life, choices must be made, based on the fact that sin involves giving into what is wrong, and the approach to success is to stand up and be strong in one's convictions, values and generally accepted norms of morality.

Being realistic and honest about our travels along the road of life, experience shows that some of our choices at various stages or intersections of life are influenced by the fog of ignorance or misunderstanding, by the storms of anger or resentment or by other factors such as immaturity and passion.

The guiding influence of God or parents frequently fades and gets weaker, and many times when we are on our own we make choices and decisions that turn out to be unwise, misleading and often very tragic. Even in these situations, wrong choices are made by pointing fingers at others and blaming them for our wrong choices rather than pointing a finger at ourselves.

Many of us can, unfortunately, relate to situations like this. Actually, there are many who never have to deal with seriously wrong decisions, thanks to counselling, proper upbringing, or perhaps the result of many prayers and the grace of God. All of this makes for good news and reason to rejoice. Is it not also very good news to be able to say that many who make "wrong turns or choices along the road of life" very often come to their senses or begin to hear once again the voice of their father, their natural father or God the Father, still whispering so clearly those encouraging words "Shine your light for me.”

They pull themselves up by the bootstraps and frequently make fantastic recoveries as they move on with their lives. Responsibility and accountability now become an important part of their lives and their witness serves as a light for others, contributing to a brighter future for all concerned.


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