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Tuesday, June 9, 1998

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St. Ephrem

1 Kings 17:7-16
Psalm 4
Matthew 5:13-16

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light on your feet

"Men do not light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket. They set it on a stand where it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, your light must shine before men." —Matthew 5:15-16

At the time Jesus spoke the words quoted above, light came from fire. Electricity and light bulbs did not exist. People had to "light a lamp" in order for light to be produced. Darkness could not be overcome unless something was set on fire (see Mt 4:16).

Jesus came to "light a fire on the earth" (Lk 12:49). When Jesus ministered to people, their hearts burned inside them (Lk 24:32) and they passed on that light to others (Lk 24:33ff). The Church teaches us this truth so vividly at the beautiful Easter Vigil liturgy. The church building is in darkness, and the light of Jesus is passed from one person's candle to another. Soon, the entire church is illuminated by the strength of everyone's candlelight.

A bishop once told his priests: "Do not be so afraid of being burned out that you never catch on fire." Jesus wills to make us like the burning bush: totally ablaze with light, yet not consumed (see Ex 3:2). The sight of our burning, yet not burned out, lives will attract others, bring them into God's presence, and result in vocations and liberation (see Ex 3:3ff). God wills that even nations and world leaders should walk by our light (Is 60:3).

Jesus provides the light. All we must do is be willing to be set on fire. Be a "lamp, set aflame and burning bright" (Jn 5:35).

Prayer:  Come, Holy Spirit! Enkindle in us the fire of Your love.

Promise:  "O Lord, let the light of Your countenance shine upon us! You put gladness into my heart, more than when grain and wine abound." —Ps 4:7-8

Praise:  Ephrem, a Doctor of the Church who ministered in the fourth century, led people to worship God by composing many liturgical hymns. He was called "the harp of the Holy Spirit."

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by one of our editors.)

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, November 29, 1997

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, December 2, 1997