Faith as a Beacon or a Weapon

Homily for Monday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
Preached on September 24, 2018 at the Archabbey Church of Our Lady of Einsiedeln, Saint Meinrad Archabbey, St. Meinrad IN
Readings: Proverbs 3:27-34; Psalm 15:2-5; Luke 8:16-18

Most preachers consider light as a metaphor for faith and so, when Jesus speaks of setting a light on a lamp stand, they interpret Jesus’ words as a directive for us to put our faith out there for all to see. We hear that especially in the Alleluia verse: “Let your light shine before others that they may see your good works and glorify your heavenly Father” (Mt. 5:16). Faith, like a lamp, should not be hidden away under a bed or concealed under a vessel (Lk. 8:16).

But, here is the problem with this analogy: a light does not just remain hidden under a vessel or a bed (Lk. 8:16); it also poses a fire hazard. It can damage the vessel and it can set that bed ablaze. The same flame that can illumine from a lamp stand (Lk. 16:8) can easily burn anything that gets too close to it.

burningbed

Now, when we extend this metaphor to faith, we realize something that we often forget: faith can be used as a beacon, but it can also be used as a weapon. Certainly the scandals in the Church stand witness to the times when faith has been used as a weapon and they give new meaning to the Lord’s warning in the Gospel: “For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light” (Lk. 8:17). Those who have been burned by the Church behind closed doors have come out in the open and they offer all of us a sobering reminder: the same faith that has the power to heal also has the power to hurt.

Faith is still a gift from God, but, as with all other gifts from above, it up to us how we will use it. We can set it in on a lamp stand or hide it under a bed (Lk. 8:16). We can use it as a beacon to guide people closer to God or use it as weapon to lead them further astray. Hopefully we have learned to heed the Lord’s instruction and make the right choice.

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~ by Fr. Mateo Zamora, OSB on Monday, September 24, 2018.

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