Commentary on the Gospel of

Nancy Shirley - Creighton University Nursing School
As I reviewed the readings for today, I was struck by the theme of light.  The responsorial psalm, the alleluia, and the gospel repeat this important concept of light. I started reflecting upon all the different meanings of light.  We often speak of “seeing the light” when we understand something or when someone comes to share our perspective on something, we say that they have seen the light.  We speak of coming out of the darkness and into the light as we clarify meaning in our lives.  Light is associated with good, purity, warmth, and comfort.  Light dispels the darkness not only the literal darkness but the symbolic darkness where so many of our fears lie. Light is the saving grace – Christ is light!


In the responsorial psalm, we hear:


Lord, let your face shine on me.

The revelation of your words sheds light,

gives understanding to the simple.


We recognize that it is through the sacred words that we are brought out of darkness – the very word of God is enlightening, His very Being aglow with light that shines upon us and all that is good.  It is not complicated – when we open our hearts to the light, good things will happen.


The “Alleluia” continues the theme of light encouraging us to let our light shine and in so doing honor our God – it is through our good deeds that our light shines.  We shine brightest when we are focused on serving others and truly living, “love thy neighbor.”


Alleluia, alleluia. 

Let your light shine before others

that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father


The gospel makes the strongest case for light and the light that we should be in the world.  It provides the idea for “this little light of mine, I’m gonna let shine.”  We are charged to share this light that we have been given – using it to reflect our good deeds.  I was somewhat surprised with Jesus saying to the apostles  You are the light of the world. I remember as a very young child, a small picture that my mother had on the wall, it was entitled, Light of the World. It was a picture of Jesus as a young child with pale curls and a brilliant halo aglow around His head. The picture seemed very old even then – now as it hangs in my home, it is even older!!   It was (is) a very plain piece yet it is more powerful than I ever knew.  I believe that simple picture left an indelible mark on me and my belief in Christ as the our Light – it was a fact hanging on the wall and looking at me.


Since I read the material for this reflection – a number of songs have been “playing” in my head and I leave you with the first verse and chorus of the one that would not stop . . . Christ, Be our Light ( by Bernadette Farrell):


Longing for light, we wait in darkness. 

Longing for truth, we turn to you. 

Make us your own, your holy people, 

Light for the world to see. 

Christ, be our light! 

Shine in our hearts

Shine through the darkness! 

Christ, be our light! 

Shine in your church gathered today.


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