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Let your light shine

– Monday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time –

“No one after lighting a lamp hides it under a jar … [N]othing is hidden that will not be disclosed…. [P]ay attention to how you listen; for to those who have, more will be given; and from those who do not have, even what they seem to have will be taken away.” [Luke 8:16-18]

Earlier translations of Luke 8:16 use the word ‘bushel’ instead of ‘jar’ and so this verse gave rise to the proverb “Don’t hide your light behind a bushel,” meaning that we should not conceal our abilities but use them for the good of the world.

“To those who have, more will be given; and from those who do not have, even what they seem to have will be taken away.” That hardly sounds like something that Jesus would say! To make sense of it we need to look at what comes immediately before it – the Parable of the Sower. This parable likens how the word of God is received to what happens when a farmer plants seed. Some seed doesn’t take root at all, some sprouts for a while but then dies, while other seed grows and flourishes. Jesus concludes the parable with the words “Let anyone with ears to hear listen”.

Today’s reading continues Jesus’ emphasis on the importance of hearing God’s message in the right way. Those who have had the word revealed to them and understand its implications have the responsibility of sharing it with others. Those who hold the word in their hearts, however little it may seem, will be given even more.

Hearing God’s word in the right way means applying it to our lives. The purpose of reading, studying and reflecting on scripture is not to fill our heads with interesting facts, but to change our hearts. What is today’s gospel reading asking of you here and now?

by Elizabeth Harrington


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