Stop hiding under the bed – Monday, 25th week in ordinary time – Luke 8:16-18
Much of Christianity has become a free-for-all-all. The cherry-picking of the faith in what applies to my life and what I wish to let go must stop. Catholicism is guided by scripture and tradition (not home-baked traditions). The time has come for us to call out Catholics; both in the hierarchy of the Church and the laity for what they have done (or doing) and what they have failed to do (which has become the malaise among the bishops and clergy).
Catholicism calls for consent; one that is given freely. A married couple freely consents to enter into matrimony. A penitent freely approaches the confessional, and a cleric freely embraces the discipline of celibacy. Even though our parents may bring us as babes to be baptized we consented to be a soldier in Christ’s army when we freely affirmed our faith in God and called the Holy Spirit to be our armour when we received the sacrament of Confirmation.
If this be so, then the faith must be practised and proclaimed in its entirety and in truth.
My faith cannot be altered because circumstances in my life have changed. For example, a Catholic who has fallen in love with someone of another faith may now feel compelled to worship their gods so that they may not offend them. These days we see so much of this on social media but clearly, this is a mortal sin against the first commandment, one that is rarely condemned from the pulpit. Rather, when challenged or put to the test, our light of faith should shine even more for the world to see.
The Gospel of today reminds us of the obligation to shine our light. Written tongue in cheek, if not with the deliberate intent of giving us a slap on our cheek, it says, “No one after lighting a lamp hides it under a jar, or puts it under a bed but puts it on a lampstand, so that those who enter may see the light.” (Luke 8:16)
This verse reveals both consent as well as an obligation. The person does not have to light a lamp, yet if one chooses to do so or as scripture says, having done so, one must do what is obvious. The verse reveals the impossibility of a ridiculous action. It says “no one” would ever do something as stupid as to light a lamp and then hide it under a jar or put it under a bed. Both these actions would be self-defeating as the light would be extinguished under a jar or it would be dangerous; for a lamp that is light and placed beneath a bed would set it on fire.
The verse of scripture draws us to the obvious use of a lamp that is lit; to give light to all those who enter. To do that, it needs to be placed on the right object, the lampstand. Apply this now to your life. No one is forcing you to be a Catholic but if you accept the Catholic faith freely then you cannot either make stupid decisions that endanger your soul or make a mockery of your faith by hiding or denying it before others.
While many may see this interpretation as hard, we need to remind ourselves that the way to heaven is not by the broad road but by the narrow gate. Being a Catholic is not easy and God knows how often I have failed in my call to be a holy priest. But taking up the cross, denying ourselves daily and following Christ is what we signed up for.
Perhaps you have lapsed in your faith or have run out of oil. This is not the end! Today is a good day to commit yourself to the Lord. The rejuvenation of your spiritual calling begins with your desire to be reconciled with the Lord and that is done only in the confessional. From there find yourself a spiritual father who will guide you and guard your soul. Look for someone you have seen in prayer daily at the Blessed Sacrament Chapel and ask them to pray for you fervently. Commit yourself to the care of Our Blessed Mother by saying the Rosary each day or several times in the day. Be nourished by the eucharist daily at Holy Mass. Wear a scapular or a medal that hangs around your heart so that you cling to it in moments of temptation.
Soon, your light will shine for all those you enter into your life, for you will be the light that Christ uses to shine. How foolish we have been, hidden in a cupboard or under our beds.