Saturday, February 5, 2011

The Sunday Word

Sunday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Is 58:7-10
1 Cor 2: 1-5
Mt 5:13-16

In all of our Marianist schools we foster the idea of  "modeling" or "mentoring." We spend countless hours encouraging our teachers to follow their mentors when they first begin teaching. Even our students learn the valueable lessons of mentoring from an older and wiser student. But what does it mean for you and me to be model or mentor Christians? Although mentors or teachers may often appear to be elevated to "upfront" positions, genuine mentors do not try to be "stars." The role of the Christian mentor is that of a lamp, helping illumine the pathway that lies directly at his or her student's feet, offering guidance and service in indirect, even pedestrian ways.

As a child, we all loved  to sing "This little light of mine ... I'm going to let it shine ...."? The only problem with that song is that it focused exclusively on the single beam of light emitted by our small singular lights. Jesus wanted us to think corporately about the illuminating power he generates in each of us. The "city built on a hill" is not noticed because one lone light flickers in a window. It is the combined wattage of an array of lights, each burning in its own place, but for a common purpose, that sets the city ablaze in the midst of a dark and dreary night. George Bush may have said more than he realized when he touted the "thousand points of light" theme.

There are no lamps that cannot throw some light on some darkened portion of a fellow-traveler's pathway. Take confidence in the potential power of your lamp, for its light source is truly unquenchable. The psalmist in psalm 119 reminds us that the eternal flame of Scripture is always available to us for additional fuel: "Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path." What is more, "In your light we see light." Don't make the mistake of thinking that you are somehow not "mentor-material." In Luke 6:40, Jesus reminds his disciples that while "A disciple is not above the teacher, ... everyone who is fully qualified will be like the teacher."

As disciples of Christ, "lights of the world," we have been "fully qualified." Instead, we need only let our lamps shine, that others may see and find the way, the truth and the life.