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Drawing Attention to God

Homily for Wednesday of the 11th Week of Ordinary Time

Just nine days ago, we heard Jesus say that we should be the salt of the earth and the light for the world. “Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds.” Today are we hearing a different message? “Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them.” At first glance, it would seem so. I can almost hear St. Peter, who has a tendency to say things at inopportune times saying, “But Jesus. . .”

To be perfectly honest, if all the good deeds and miracles and the actions of the prophets and the apostles were hidden, the pages of our Scriptures would be rather empty. So apparently we have to look for some kind of balance in these sayings, a not uncommon occurrence in the Gospels.

Elijah and Elisha would never have convinced the children of Israel to return to their covenant relationship with God if they had not performed mighty deeds for all to see. Jesus would not have gained any support or disciples if those who witnessed his miracles had not gone abroad proclaiming, “He has done all things well.”

The difference seems to be in the fact that Elijah and Elisha are drawing attention to God rather than to themselves. If someone blows a trumpet before they do some charitable deed or give a generous donation, the trumpet is calling attention to the donor, not to God.

If someone stands on a street corner or in the middle of the synagogue praying so that others can hear, they draw attention to themselves rather than to God. The one who is saying the prayers has not focused on God but rather on those who might see him.

So yes we are supposed to be a light for the world, a light which will point in the direction of God. The Blessed Mother is a good example of this kind of behavior. Just as she did at the wedding feast of Cana, she is always telling us to do whatever he asks of us. She points us toward Jesus. This is the kind of light we should be, a light that is point toward Jesus.

Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator

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