Dec. 17: Reflecting Christ’s light

Dec. 17: Third Sunday of Advent

He was not the light, but came to testify to the light (Jn 1:8).


Although it has been nearly five centuries since Nicholas Copernicus proposed the heliocentric model of the universe, geocentrism—or more accurately, anthropocentrism—still seems to dominate our culture, at least metaphorically.

Between curating Facebook profiles, creating Snapchat stories and tending to Instagram feeds, we seem to think of ourselves and our lives as worthy of endless attention. Even for those who have some immunity to the contagion of social media, there is the temptation to want to be the main event in whatever good work we do. But in order to be persuasive witnesses to the Christian message—that is, to testify to the light—we need to be very clear about our role.

John the Baptist, the formidable and astringent prophet whose testimony is the subject of today’s Gospel, knew that his job was to prepare the world for someone greater than he. That is our job, too. I am reminded of this whenever I step into our beautiful and historic parish church and look up at the altar. Flanking the main altar painting of the Crucifixion, beautifully robed and standing on little grey clouds, are depictions of two Fra Angelico-style angels, facing Jesus with their trumpets lifted.

They are a salutary reminder that our job as Christians is to celebrate and worship God, not ourselves. Only when we orient ourselves around Christ the Son will we be properly situated to reflect his radiant light out to a dark world that desperately needs it.

Prayer: Lord of the sun, the stars and the moon, Draw me into your magnificent orbit so that I may cast your reflected radiance to all who walk in darkness. Amen.

For today’s readings, click here.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Bruce Snowden
8 months ago

Mrs. Cahill, all your mini-meds (meditations) with prayers are great! You ought to consider compiling them as spiritual reading for publication and sale, probably attractive especially to Catholic bookstores and to ordinary Catholics like me and by Grace maybe to the more erudite as well.

Your prayer for the meditation on “Reflecting Christ’s Light,” copied below is an irreplaceable gem, which I make a part of this brief posting and will daily say. “Lord of the Sun, the Stars and the Moon, draw me into Your magnificent orbit so that I may cast Your reflected radiance to all who walk in darkness.”

I very much like your linkage of humanity to the Moon, “Sister Moon” as the Little Poor Man from Assisi might say, a meteor-battered sister, who despite her battering even somehow because of it, is still able to reflect as it were the Light of the “Sun” of God, Christ, the Light of the world!

This imagery tells me that, no matter how battered I may get bombarded through life’s imponderables its “meteors” and yes, by sin too, as “the Just man sins seven time daily” as Scripture says and I am no Just man! Nonetheless, I should pick myself up, brush myself off and start all over again.
Thanks for helping me generate these thoughts, beneficial to my spiritual life in turn inseparably sinewed to my prayer life. Yes, THANKS!


The latest from america

"The Catholic Cook Book," published in 1965, is exactly that: a cookbook for Catholics and those who want to learn about Catholicism and how it relates to food.
Vivian CabreraAugust 16, 2018
Cardinal Donald W. Wuerl of Washington is pictured as Pope Francis celebrates Mass in Washington Sept. 23, 2015. (CNS photo/Paul Haring)
“Those who have suffered are his priority, and the Church wants to listen to them to root out this tragic horror.”
Victims of clergy sexual abuse and their family members listen as Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro speaks about a grand jury’s investigation of clergy sexual abuse. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)
On the Feast of the Assumption and following more revelations of sexual abuse, a priest reflects on the hard work required for the church to “come to perfection.”
Sam Sawyer, S.J. August 16, 2018
Today America joins more than 300 U.S. publications in support of the free press, which has been repeatedly insulted by President Donald J. Trump.
The EditorsAugust 16, 2018