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).

Advertisement

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
5 months 1 week 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!

Advertisement
More: Advent / Scripture

Don't miss the best from America

Sign up for our Newsletter to get the Jesuit perspective on news, faith and culture.

The latest from america

The news from Ireland and the United States reminds us of Herod, of Pharaoh. What culture betrays its children?
The EditorsMay 26, 2018
A woman religious casts her ballot May 25 in Dublin as Ireland holds a referendum on its law on abortion. Voters went to the polls May 25 to decide whether to liberalize the country's abortion laws. (CNS photo/Alex Fraser, Reuters)
The repeal of Ireland's Eighth Amendment, which guarantees the right to life of the unborn, has passed with a nearly 2-1 margin.
Education Secretary Betsy DeVos testifies at a House Committee on Education and the Workforce, Tuesday, May 22, 2018, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
The Secretary of Education stirred up controversy when she said it was up to schools to decide if an undocumented student should be reported to authorities.
J.D. Long-GarcíaMay 25, 2018
Thousands gathered in Dublin May 12 to say "Love Both" and "Vote No" to abortion on demand. They were protesting abortion on demand in the forthcoming referendum May 25. (CNS photo/John McElroy)
“Priests and bishops get verbal abuse by being told, ‘How can you speak for women? You don’t know what it’s like!’”
America StaffMay 25, 2018