You are the Light of the World


One of the things that always strikes me is the trust Jesus placed in his followers. The gospel of John presents Jesus as the Light of the World; in our gospel passage from the fifth chapter of Matthew, Jesus teaches his disciples, as he teaches us,  that they (and we) are the light.  We become the light of the world solely because of the Lord.


One important thing that I noticed –  as perhaps you also did –  is that when Jesus speaks to his disciples about light, he does not say “You have the light,” but “You are the Light.”  This is a totally new concept.  We have or possess many things: we have family, knowledge, even faith, but we are not those things.  Interestingly enough, Jesus instructs us that we “are” the light of the world and salt of the earth. This means that our own existence is united to those concepts, that they are not simply images or ideas, but that they are a reality that exists through us.


The essential nature of our presence as light for the world cannot be dismissed; light is not light for itself,  brightly shining as it does; light illuminates, makes bright what would otherwise remain in the dark.


As followers of Christ, our identity is to be light for everyone in this world. There is a lot of confusion in our world, and each one of us is challenged to be a guide in that confusion, to be a light in the darkness. Our call to “be” light cannot be denied, because being light is constitutive of our essential nature as Christians.

Each one of us is light because of our faith, because of our baptism, because we show the image of Christ in the things we do and in the way we live: “Your light must shine in the sight of all, so that, seeing your good works, they may give the praise to your Father in heaven.


Sometimes we are not aware that we preach by our very existence. A familiar phrase, attributed to Saint Francis of Assisi, is this: “Preach the Gospel at all times. Use words if necessary.”  Light always shines, and no matter how small the flame, it will overcome even the darkest of darkness.


Remember who you are:  You are the light of the world.