Today's Gospel: Mark 4:21-25
I have always been baffled by the last sentence in today’s Gospel: “To the one who has, more will be given; from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away” (Mk. 4:25). At first glance, it appears Jesus means that if we are blessed with much in this life, we will be given even more, but if we suffer hardships or times of scarcity, we can expect more of the same. But, naturally, His message is quite contrary to this very human assumption.
The crux of today’s Gospel lies in our confidence in His message of Divine Mercy. Do we truly believe that Jesus’ graces outweigh our wretchedness? Jesus uses the metaphor of a lamp that is not to be hidden underneath a basket or bed so that the light is concealed, but rather the lamp must be placed on a lampstand so that all may be exposed to its full radiance and glow. The lamp represents our personal spiritual gifts, and the light symbolizes Jesus as Light of the World, who exposes darkness with the fullness of Truth, His message of peace and our response to Him.
The light of Christ cannot be visible through our lives to this dark and hopeless world if we hide Jesus in secrecy, too afraid to be witnesses of love and truth. This is what Jesus means by “the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away.” Do we turn away from His knocking on our hearts every day, concealing Jesus’ love from others out of fear and trepidation? Or do we respond with our own fiat, our “yes” to His call, even and especially when we risk judgment, scrutiny, and hardship?
Jesus is knocking on our hearts every day, hoping we will respond with confidence: a virtue that encompasses all three theological virtues of faith, hope and love; this confidence drives us away from darkness and temptation, from the enemy’s deception and lies, and instead toward goodness and truth. We are enticed by Jesus’ over-abundance of mercy and love, which pours into our hearts interminably with endless graces. This happens when we are open, when we trust, and when we say “yes” to represent the light. This gives meaning to the words, “to the one who has, more will be given.” Jesus is referring to the graces to which we have access when we choose to be the lamps that reflect His eternal light to the world.
Let us consider today the ways in which we have allowed darkness to pervade our thoughts, which stifles our ability to show our culture and society the hope we carry within our hearts, and let us instead step out in faith, allowing Jesus to place our lamps on lampstands so that the world will know He is Truth, that He loves us unconditionally and wants the world to be healed and reconciled to Him.
Do I represent light or darkness in the ways in which I live my life, what I watch or listen to, how I spend my time? How can I choose to reflect the light of Christ through my vocation and in everyday living?
Jesus, we know you are the Light of the World. You shine in our hearts, but we know that you do not intend for that light to be hidden and concealed out of fear or discomfort. Grant us the courage to say “yes” to you every day, especially in difficult moments, and may faith overcome our fears so that we may be witnesses of the hope and joy that is offered to everyone through You. Amen.
We thank our friends at The Word Among Us for providing our gospel reflection team with copies of Abide In My Word 2015: Mass Readings at Your Fingertips. To pray the daily gospels with this wonderful resource, visit The Word Among Us.
Copyright 2015 Jeannie Ewing
About the Author
Jeannie Ewing believes the world ignores and rejects the value of the Cross. She writes about the hidden value of suffering and even discovering joy in the midst of grief. As a disability advocate, Jeannie shares her heart as a mom of two girls with special needs in Navigating Deep Waters and is the author of From Grief to Grace , A Sea Without A Shore , and Waiting with Purpose. Jeannie is a frequent guest on Catholic radio and contributes to several online and print Catholic magazines. She, her husband, and three daughters live in northern Indiana. For more information, please visit her website lovealonecreates.com.