Monday, September 22, 2014
25th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Prv 3:27-34
Gospel: Luke 8:16-18
Jesus said to his disciples, “No one, after lighting a lamp covers it with a bowl or puts it under the bed; rather he puts it on a lampstand so that people coming in may see the light. In the same way, there is nothing hidden that shall not be uncovered; nothing kept secret that shall not be known clearly. Now, take care how well you listen, for whoever produces will be given more, but from those who do not produce, even what they seem to have will be taken away from them.”
(Daily Gospel in the Assimilated Life Experience)
When the then Philippine President Corazon Aquino was accused by a columnist of hiding under the bed during a coup attempt, a court battle ensued which forced the columnist to recant into saying he never meant to be literal about it. That was his safest excuse. After all, who could hide under a solid bed, unless of course he intended to compare the president to a bed bug?
Today’s Gospel talks about not hiding lamps under a bed. Lamps are never meant to be hidden, much as presidents are not elected to hide under a bed during coup attempts. If you light a lamp only to be hidden, then there is no point lighting that lamp at all.
There is an element of double kill in today’s Gospel: “No one, after lighting a lamp covers it with a bowl or puts it under the bed”. When you cover a lamp with a bowl you deprive it of oxygen supply, thereby extinguishing the light long before that lamp gets under the bed. This double kill emphasizes that the rightful place of the lamp is in the open and not under the bed.
Beds and lamps are not strange bed fellows. Our family used to have a small lamp locally called “estandar”, made of glass. Its brightness was adjustable by turning a small lever that drove the wick in and out of an aluminum tube. It ran on kerosene. Our mother would place this near the bed to keep our room at least dimly lighted throughout the night. But it was never placed too close to the bed for obvious reasons. Not even the modern lampshades running on electricity are placed too close to the bed.
The only time I saw a lamp under the bed was at a house where I celebrated Mass for the Dead. The coffin was made to sit on a bed made of iron and glass under which lamps of different colors were placed. Modern trends in funeral services have adopted lighting technology to make death less scary and render coffins less morbid to those joining in the wake. We have substantial moral lesson here regarding the relationship between death and light. When a Christian fails to shine in the darkness of sin, he is a walking dead. Cory Aquino, the President accused of hiding under the bed during a coup has long died, yet she is so alive in the good works she did to society. – Rev. Fr. Dan Domingo P. delos Angeles, Jr., DM. Email:firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: www.frdan.org.
Prayer for the day: God our Father, as we thank you for the gift of salvation we ask you to deepen our relationship with you so that we may persevere in being the light of the world, through Christ our Lord. Amen.
SAINT OF THE DAY: ST. THOMAS OF VILLANUEVA, Augustinian bishop. Born at Fuentellana, Castile, Spain, he was the son of a miller. He studied at the University of Alcala, earned a licentiate in theology, and became a professor there at the age of twenty-six. He declined the chair of philosophy at the University of Salamanca and instead entered the Augustinian Canons in Salamanca in 1516. Ordained in 1520, he served as prior of several houses in Salamanca, Burgos, and Valladolid, as provincial of Andalusia and Castile, and then court chaplain to Holy Roman Emperor Charles V (r. 1519-1556). During his time as provincial of Castile, he dispatched the first Augustinian missionaries to the New World. They subsequently helped evangelize the area of modern Mexico. He was offered but declined the see of Granada, but accepted appointment as archbishop of Valencia in 1544. As the see had been vacant for nearly a century, Thomas devoted much effort to restoring the spiritual and material life of the archdiocese. He was also deeply committed to the needs of the poor. He held the post of grand almoner of the poor, founded colleges for the children of new converts and the poor, organized priests for service among the Moors, and was renowned for his personal saintliness and austerities. While he did not attend the sessions of the Council of Trent, he was an ardent promoter of the Tridentine reforms throughout Spain.