Bring it into the light.
Even in these times of massive social and political unrest, we can still look around us and see such goodness happening in the world. Much of the world’s greatest good has been done in the name of God.
So too has much of the greatest evil. As Catholics, we must own, take responsibility for and tackle head-on the evil abuse perpetrated from within the Church. Much, if not all, of this evil occurs because other people pretend that it isn’t happening, because they choose to keep it in the dark. This is true not only of abuse in the Church but of all abuse, all evil and on all levels, from a husband and wife to a political movement.
There’s a modern-day term: ‘You cannot heal what you don’t reveal.’
‘What I say to you in the dark, tell it in the daylight.’ That’s what Jesus says in today’s Gospel. In terms of Christ’s message, this is advice direct from source. Bring it out into the light.
He is inviting us to proclaim his message from the rooftops. And, after yesterday’s feast of the Irish Martyrs, what better opportunity than now to consider Jesus’ exhortation: ‘Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul’.
But there is more we must do than simply proclaim to others.
Proclamation is a journey in several directions. When, for example, we sing a proclamation in Church, we are proclaiming Christ’s message to those gathered. But we should also proclaim to ourselves. Our hearts should be open to receive the message we are proclaiming. Much of the abuse in the Church has been perpetrated by people like the Pharisees and Scribes, that is, by those who are dead to the words they proclaim. Our relationship with God hangs on that selfless openness to receive him. We must keep doing it, every day. Once just isn’t enough.
Our entire life is a process of healing. Throughout our years and decades we navigate a quite precarious straight of waters, in which we come across any number of obstacles. The best way to navigate around those problems is to see them. So, we need a light on our boat, that we can see the way ahead.
That light is Christ’s message. And at the heart of this light is his single commandment to love one another – not with a list of caveats, but with a full and open heart. We must drag everything that we face in life into this burning light of Christ’s love.
Is there the tiniest part of us that is conditioned in some way by the systemic doctrine of racism? Do we ‘do others down’ simply for what and who they are? Are we hiding the creepy-crawly aspects of our character behind a wall of faith? Do we not listen to people who we don’t like, or turn off from those who aren’t like us? Do we consider ourselves more special than others? All of these dark avenues are the beginnings of horrific abuse and violence, and there is nothing good in them.
We do not know what to do with these things; it’s why we hide them. So, we bring them into the light of Christ. He, our Navigator, our Way, charts a course for us through the debris of our human disorder.
Whilst we are proclaimers, whilst we shout the Bible message from the rooftops, we must keep shining that powerful light into the dark, dusty corners of our own personal life. It is painful to unearth what we do not want to see, especially when we are the very field in which it grows. But Christ says: do not be afraid.
We say that, through Baptism, we live in him. And that is our goal. To live in him. This daily proclamation to ourselves, in which we slowly transform into the message we are proclaiming, is the beginning of living wholly in him.
Jesus instructed the Twelve as follows: ‘Do not be afraid of them therefore. For everything that is now covered will be uncovered, and everything now hidden will be made clear. What I say to you in the dark, tell in the daylight; what you hear in whispers, proclaim from the housetops.
‘Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; fear him rather who can destroy both body and soul in hell. Can you not buy two sparrows for a penny? And yet not one falls to the ground without your Father knowing. Why, every hair on your head has been counted. So there is no need to be afraid; you are worth more than hundreds of sparrows.
‘So if anyone declares himself for me in the presence of men, I will declare myself for him in the presence of my Father in heaven. But the one who disowns me in the presence of men, I will disown in the presence of my Father in heaven.
The Gospel of the Lord.
Bring it into the light.