3rd Jan 10, The Apostle: You probably know that black objects are black because almost all the light that falls on them is absorbed into the material. Little or no light is reflected back toward your eye, therefore you see black.
Enter the black but shiny objects. They reflect a lot of light (specular reflection), but they are black (diffuse absorption).
Taking this into the spiritual context, people who believe in God are enlightened and so the light falls on these people. Could we say that the light of God has been absorbed by these people and into them? Could they have absorbed the light and still not shine? How can they have absorbed the light of God and yet not reflect the light of God?
In the course of time, you may have seen people who believe in God but go no further to deepen that belief. I have seen Christians who were so happy to receive the Sacrament of Confirmation in the church so that they can get done with Sunday School. I have also heard of Christians who received the Eucharist; but did not consume it so that they can take it home and desecrate the Body of Christ in the secret of their own room. Now if we say we believe in God, then why do we not act like we do? “When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage.’” (Matthew 2:1-2) The magi were dedicated to study and learning. It is so heartwarming to see their ability to associate their passion to the deeper meaning of life. Many Christians in Singapore can be very busy in their lives. But ultimately, where will our busy-ness take us? The obituary page in the newspapers will bring us to the sober reality that living well begins with an enlightened meditation on the grave. It is also possible to learn from the magi. For in order to accommodate Jesus in our lives, some part of them must die. And just as the magi see the Star of Jesus Christ rising, can we also see his star rising in our hearts? “They were overjoyed at seeing the star” (Matthew 2:10)
It is time we let more light in. The integrity of a person will be put to the test by the torrents of temptation but when we live in the light of God, we can only allow more light to come in. And so more light must shine into our problems; more light must be reflected in our response to these problems. “Rise up in splendor! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you. See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; But upon you the LORD shines, and over you appears his glory.” (Isaiah 60:1-2)
A good friend gave me a book for Christmas entitled “Let God’s light shine forth”. The opening words from Pope Benedict are, “We are supposed to be the light of the world, and that means that we should allow the Lord to be seen through us.” May this Epiphany bring us the gift of reflection especially when the hours are dark. And may this Feast also grant us the ability to reflect the beauty of God. Let the light of Christ shine forth.
Father Anselm Phang
3rd Jan 10, The Apostle