We are also called to be the light of the world. The New English Bible translates, ‘You are the light for all the world’. It means we are to be light in all aspects of the world’s life. It also means we are to be light for all the people of the world. It takes us out of our preoccupation with the welfare of the Christian community alone.
One of the serious problems in the world today is religious communalism, that is, people’s preoccupation with the interests of their own religious or ethnic group. The conflicts between Roman Catholics and Protestants, between Roman Catholics and Eastern Orthodox, between Jews and Muslims, between Muslims and Hindus, between Roman Catholics and Muslims and between Shia and Sunni Muslims are facts of life nowadays. We are called to be the light for the world. Jesus Christ is the real light which enlightens everyone.
The metaphor of light is often used in the Bible. Jews spoke of Jerusalem as light to the Gentiles. But Jerusalem does not produce its own light. It is God who lights the lamp of Israel. Moreover, Jerusalem cannot hide its light.
The prophet Isaiah says, The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwell in a land of deep darkness, on them the light has shined. (Isaiah 9:2)
This prophecy was fulfilled in the coming of Jesus Christ. Jesus said, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life’ (John 8:12). He also said, ‘While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.’
Jesus Christ is the true light of the world. He has kindled a light in the life of each one of his followers. Christian disciples are called to rise and shine. St. Paul exhorts the Christians in Philippi ‘to be blameless and innocent in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as light in the world’.
We’re also called light of the world
We are living in this kind of generation now. The extra judicial killings in the Philippines have become a lingering issue. Corruption by government personnel, including elements of the national police who kidnapped and killed a Korean businessman, is a cause for concern.
In the US, leftist organizations and so-called Liberals continue to disrupt the normal flow of life in protest against a man who has vowed to protect the land and its law-abiding citizens from potential threats and make America great again.
Christians are to be torch bearers in a dark world. One should not try to hide the light which God has lit in our lives. Rather we should shine so that others may see our good deeds and praise God. Shining does not mean self-propaganda, self-publicity or self-glorification, but it means bearing fruit in our life, bringing life and light to others. It is about our deeds in society — in politics, in culture and in social life.
Christians are not to be indifferent to politics but must actively participate in the political life of their country. In India there is a saying that “It does not matter whether Rama (God) rules or Ravana (the Devil) rules.” This is not so with Christians. It matters very much to Christians as to which side you will be with. One of the tragic developments in the world is the decline of our standards such as standards of honesty, diligence in work and study, conscientiousness and moral standards. All these have declined in recent years.
The Christian must, therefore, work to restore the standards of absolute purity in speech, conduct and even in thought.
The Bible does not give us a program for political action, but it gives us a picture of God and his purposes for his creation. In the Beatitudes we see a God who comforts those who mourn, a God who satisfies the needs of the poor and the hungry. To be a light is to follow this God.
We are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. When we leave this place, we must bear this in mind because this is the only way we can pay back the blessings we have received. To know who we are will define how God sees us. Praise be to God!