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

At Baptism we received a candle, lit from the Paschal Candle, with the words, “Receive the Light of Christ”. The rite continues: “This child of yours has been enlightened by Christ. He is to walk always as a child of the light. May he keep the flame of faith alive in his heart. When the Lord comes, may he go out to meet him with all the saints in the heavenly kingdom.” As another part of the rite, the ears and mouth are blessed with the words, “The Lord Jesus made the deaf hear and the dumb speak. May He soon touch your ears to receive his word and your mouth to proclaim his faith, to the praise and glory of God the Father.”

In Matthew 5:13-16, Jesus speaks of us as salt and light of the earth. We are called to let our “light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” Are we doing this everywhere we go?

When we leave Mass, it can be a temptation to think our duty for the week is done. Pay attention to the words at the end of Mass: “Go in Peace”. These words, “Ite, Missa est” in Latin, point to a commissioning, and literally mean, “Go! You are sent!” We are being SENT. We are called to go OUT sharing Christ’s peace. Having come to the table and been fortified with Christ as one Body, we are sent to be in mission with Him. In Matthew 28: 19 Jesus says, “Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” This is what we are called to do. But we cannot make disciples if we do not speak and act as Catholic Christians in the world.

Do people at your workplace know you are a Catholic Christian? Do people you are on the road with know this by how you drive? What about people at the store or on the phone with telemarketers? When you are with friends, does your behavior change? Are you still a light causing others to “glorify God”?

“Everyone who acknowledges me before others I will acknowledge before my heavenly Father. But whoever denies me before others, I will deny before my heavenly Father.” It can be very easy to be a light in Church and then extinguish it as we walk out the door. Let me give some staggering statistics. According to PEW research, 50% of young people who were raised Catholic are no longer Catholic and 79% of former Catholics leave the Church before 23. Approximately 30% of adults in the US claim no religion while with young adults that percentage is even higher! We must ask ourselves, are we, as salt, losing flavor?

We are called to be holy, set apart. Do we see this as a freedom we have? We are called to be free for something great! We are called to plant seeds everywhere!

Practically speaking, how do we speak or act with friends or in public? Colossians 3:17 says, “Whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Does our behavior reflect this? “If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless." (James 1:26) How does our speech glorify God? Remember, we have the power of life and death in our tongue! And how do we talk about others?

This call to be salt and light extends everywhere we go. It can be very easy to skip Mass when out of town, but what are we choosing as our priority then? Maybe we avoid praying before meals while out in public. Who may be waiting for an opportunity to hear the Gospel, and we have prevented the opportunity for a relationship in this way?

At Mass, we become temples of Jesus, literally! We are arks with Jesus inside of us! How do we choose to clothe this temple? Does it show the sacredness of the treasure we hold within? How would we dress if Jesus was in our presence? Would that change? And would we welcome Him to our couch to watch our movies and play our video games or would we turn them off because they wouldn’t be appropriate with Him there?

“So by their fruits you will know them." (Mt. 7:20)

What fruit are we producing? In a world that struggles in darkness, Jesus trusts us so much that He wants to labor WITH us to bring light to the world. WE can bring generosity and kindness to the world. We have an opportunity to bring hope to a world of negativity. We get to be examples of meekness and patience. We can teach, by example, what it means to LISTEN and show compassion to others. Joy can exude from us if we embrace it ourselves! Self-control is something humanity is capable of because He lives in us! We don’t always have to preach the Gospel using words. Many times we share the person of Christ through how we act and how we speak. We can be the example to lead others to Him because they recognize something they desire. But we may also be the reason someone doesn’t learn about Him.

If we choose not to mission with Him, how will His light spread to the ends of the earth? How will evangelization happen if we hide our lights? And if not you then who?

“Hide it under a bushel, no! I’m gonna let it shine!”

Christina Brouillette — SFA Theologians Guild Member