Father Mark’s Pastoral Direction – This little light of mine

This little light of mine…

This Little light of mine…I’m gonna let it shine! Perhaps you are familiar with this popular hymn. It is often used in children’s liturgies, and was in fact written as a gospel song for children in the 1920s. It later became something of an anthem for the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 60s, associated in particular with civil rights leader Fannie Lou Hamer. The song was seen as a way of expressing unity, as people fought for equal rights and freedom.

‘This Little Light of Mine’ is based on the words of Matthew’s Gospel that we hear today: ‘No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub… your light must shine in the sight of men.’ Without the light of those who were part of the civil rights movement, our world would be a very different place. There are good people everywhere who continue to fight for justice and freedom, who use their ‘light’ to help others and make sure people are treated fairly and with dignity – both those who campaign and speak out about injustice, and the people on the ground who support the sick, the homeless, refugees and others experiencing difficulties. Witnessing so much suffering, it might be tempting for these ‘people of light’ to become disheartened, but they carry on, using their compassion and skills to bring about change, shining their light in the darkness. As followers of Christ, we are called to light up the world. Let us take some time this week to think about how you can let our light shine.

‘A community of Jesus which seeks to hide itself has ceased to follow him.’

Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Jesus uses the image of salt as something that makes food tasty. Without salt food can be tasteless. Who are the people who give zest to our life and make it enjoyable? For whom have we done this? When have we been particularly aware of our potential in this regard?

The second image is that of light. Who have been the people who have been a light for us, particularly in moments of darkness? For whom have we been a light? Let us recall these experiences and give thanks.

The images of salt and light can also be applied to communities to which we belong, a family, a parish, or other group. Thinking of the groups of which we are a member, how can their potential be enhanced to enrich the lives of members and offer them a guiding light? How can we make a contribution to this?