Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover him, and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you, the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer; you shall cry, and he will say, Here I am. “If you take away from the midst of you the yoke, the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness, if you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday (Is 58:7-10)
Poverty in the world is a scandal. It is so because, for the most part, poverty is man-made. God did not create poverty. There is objective richness and abundance in what he created. Whenhe created man, God built into him the capacity to share. This capacity to share imposes an obligation to actually share. In light of this, everyone has something (good) to share. It is in sharing that every person attains self-actualization. Sharing is an act of being human. Sharing is an expression of man’s deepest calling: the call to love and to be loved. In short, sharing humanizes the world. It brightens up the world. Where there is sharing, there is light.
Why is it that at times the world appears to be a dark place? One can think of a number of answers. What is clear, though, is that Satan is at work, and humans make choices that reinforce the presence of darkness. Among the things that make this world a dark place, one can name all forms of violence, abuse, discrimination, greed, and oppression. Christ is in the world as its light (“In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it . . . I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness,” Jn 1:4-5; 12:46), but for the present moment, he has chosen to shine through men. In accordance with this, he urges all his disciples: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Matt 5:14-16).
Christians are designed to be difference makers in the world. The difference is in letting their light shine, because light is a difference maker. This can happen in many ways. The reading from Isaiah 58:7-10 is magnificent. It indicates concrete ways of letting one’s light shine: share your bread with the hungry, clothe the naked, shelter the homeless, and remove the yoke of oppression. As one embraces this call, the Lord promises, his light shall break forth like the dawn . . . his light shall rise in the darkness and his gloom like the noonday. Wherever there is human misery there is a presence of darkness. To confront this state of affairs is, ultimately, to confront the powers of darkness. Like bed bugs, the Devil likes to operate undercover, in dark corners, undetected. Darkness breeds darkness. But light generates light. When the Lord admonishes his people to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, welcome the homeless, and rescue the afflicted, it is a call to drive away the darkness which these afflictions represent. It is an important charge!
The only way to chase darkness away is to introduce light. Little by little, as light shines in the darkness, it takes over and establishes the dominion of light. Sharing what one has with those in need introduces light into the world. Sharing is, therefore, a cure (but not exclusively) for the darkness of greed and indifference in the world. Every time you share, you shine. As you shine, you also make others shine. As Isaiah says, when you share the good you have, “your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring forth speedily; your righteousness shall go before you, the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.” This is a powerful biblical teaching! Refusing to share is refusing to shine. But as Christ has said, “Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house” (Matt 5:15).
Dear friend, what do you have that you are not sharing? Is it wisdom, is it intellect, it is knowledge, is it money, is it some property, is it a charism, is it a talent, is it your love? Christ is counting on you to shine in the world by sharing. The world has seen enough darkness and pain. Anytime you share, you make the world a better place. Think about it. Let there be light! Let there be sharing!
Invitation to pray:
Dear Father in heaven, I praise and worship you. Through your Son, you have made us your children, children of light. Today, I choose to shine. I choose to share for your glory. Bless me, and make me a blessing for others. In the name of Jesus! Amen.
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