Our

OLD TESTAMENT READING [WISDOM 18: 6 – 9] commences with the words “that night was made known …” and refers to timing of the Exodus when Israel was allowed to gather their resources and escape from slavery in Egypt. In addition it is related to one of the “traditional disasters or plagues (Exodus 7: 14 – 12:30) inflicted upon Egypt before the Pharaoh permitted Moses and the Israelites to leave Egypt.” {Cf. JOHN L McKENZIE, SJ: DICTIONARY OF THE BIBLE: Geoffrey Chapman: Page 678}. This disaster (the penultimate plague) occurred when “Moses stretched out his hand towards the sky, and it became pitch dark throughout the land of Egypt for three days” (Exodus 10: 22).

At once we must note that “there was no darkness wherever the Israelites lived”

(verse 23). Here we find the foundation of the many Gospel references to Christians being children of the light as a result of Jesus’ proclamation (John 8:22) that he is the light of the worldthe real light which enlightens every man (John 1: 9).

However, Matthew records

(5: 14) that Jesus teaches us that WE ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD. Now we should be in a better position to profit from some of the basics presented to us by today’s readings.

The fact that we are children of the light enables us, as our reading from the Book of Wisdom

tells us, to “rejoice in sure knowledge” that “you (have) called us to yourself and glorified us.” Indeed, we are able to “share alike the same things, both blessings and dangers.” It is important to accept that our faith does not exempt us from the dangers of life and living but empowers us to rejoice in sure knowledge that the Lord is on our side; he is, in common parlance, in our corner. Yet, we are not excused from fighting the good fight! Sure knowledge …. called us to yourself … glorified usyet how strong is my ‘sureness’ that I enjoy this privileged and powerful relationship with God-in-Christ? It is only when I know with certainty that HE is in my corner that I am set free to pray the words from TODAY’S PSALM [33 or 32]: “… the people he has chosen as his heritage … rescue their souls … keep them alive in famine …he is our help and our shield.” REALLY?! Or do I, in practice, think – ‘come off the grass and give me break’.

So our

NEW TESTAMENT EXTRACT [HEBREWS 11: 1 – 2. 8 – 19] commences with extremely relevant words: “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Then, a few words later we read: “by faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place which he was to receive as an inheritance.” The patriarch had to go to a place he did not know in order to receive his inheritance. How often have I been more than reluctant or even refused to go to an unknown place and DISCOVER a “land of promise?” There I share with all of you the same things, both blessings and dangers.

If we reflect on TODAY’S GOSPEL [LUKE 12: 32 – 48] we will read a rather dramatic but figurative description of both blessings and dangers. At once let us tackle Peter’s question posed to Jesus: “Lord, are you telling this parable for us or for all?” {this appears only if the Celebrant of your Eucharist does not opt for the ‘shorter’ form of the Gospel extract?!} Jesus’ answer which appears at the very end of the proclamation makes it clear that the parable is intended to be a warning not only “for all” but also “for us.” We should accept that all leaders in Church, Parish, Family, and political life should acknowledge and accept the challenge to shoulder special responsibilities: “to whom men commit much they will demand the more.”

The “for all” who have committed much to those who have particular and special roles have expectations that “the more” will be produced. This is the clear message of today’s Gospel

.

The Israelites were instructed to be prepared and ready to begin their journey out of Egypt. Each one of us is required to be ready for action in the face of both blessings and dangers: “loins girded … lamps burning …. like men waiting for their master.” READY AT ALL TIMES.

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