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BEFORE THE CROSS | Commit to being the light in the midst of darkness

Living water is supposed to flow from us, bringing light and life to all those we encounter

Daylight Saving Time ends on Nov. 4, an experience of light and darkness in a new way. We also have elections Nov. 6, an interplay of light and darkness in its own way. Interestingly, the Scriptures this week are also full of talk about light and darkness. So focus, for a moment, not on the light and darkness that’s outside of us, but the light and darkness that’s inside of us that we share with others.

We’ve all experienced two standards. Sometimes we rejoice, and we share our light with others in such a way that they walk away from us with more peace and joy than before. But sometimes we are afraid, agitated or shrill, and we share our darkness with others in such a way that they walk away from us more burdened and disturbed than before. We’ve all been on the giving and receiving end of these kinds of interactions.

Nov. 9 is the celebration of the dedication of the Lateran basilica. It’s the pope’s cathedral, and therefore a symbol of Catholic unity. One of the great themes of the readings for the day is “the temple” — the external temple of Judaism, the temple of Christ’s body, and how each of us is the temple of God. Ezekielenvisions the temple of God in heaven and the water that’s flowing out from it. The water becomes a river, and he describes what happens next:

Wherever the river flows, every sort of living creature that can multiply shall live, and there shall be abundant fish, for where this water comes the sea shall be made fresh. Along both banks of the river, fruit trees of every kind shall grow; their leaves shall not fade, nor their fruit fail. Every month they shall bear fresh fruit, for they shall be watered by the flow from the sanctuary.

If we’re the new and living temple of God, that’s the standard for us! Living water is supposed to flow from us, bringing light and life to all those we encounter.

The day after the election, the Gospel will still be the same. Our mission as disciples will still be the same. For most of us, the circumstances of our daily lives won’t change much. We will still be called to be light and bring light to others. So, which standard will we choose — light or darkness? Will people find greater peace, rest, energy, joy, stillness and wisdom from being with us? Or will an encounter with us leave people more restless, angry, anxious, jealous, full of gossip and agitated?

This week, as we experience light and darkness in new ways, let’s commit to being light in the midst of whatever darkness our days may bring.

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