Jesus looked up at his disciples and said:
- "Blessed are you who are poor,
- for yours is the kingdom of God.
- "Blessed are you who are hungry now,
- for you will be filled.
- "Blessed are you who weep now,
- for you will laugh.
- "Blessed are you when people hate you, and when they exclude you, revile you, and defame you on account of the Son of Man. Rejoice in that day and leap for joy, for surely your reward is great in heaven; for that is what their ancestors did to the prophets.
- "But woe to you who are rich,
- for you have received your consolation.
- "Woe to you who are full now,
- for you will be hungry.
- "Woe to you who are laughing now,
- for you will mourn and weep.
- "Woe to you when all speak well of you, for that is what their ancestors did to the false prophets
I think the act of lighting a candle has great significance, especially this time of year when the earth is turning away from the sun and we experience so much darkness. Lighting a candle always makes me remember the faithful that have gone before, the generations of ladies and men who prepared the sanctuary, the many who lit the candles at the start of the service, and who opened the church doors so all could come in. These folks made room for love in their lives, despite a myriad of challenges, problems and hardships. They all knew that lighting one candle against the darkness, preparing the personal and public sanctuary, always made life and love overflow in their time.
Today we hear Jesus preaching in a way that had galvanized Christians down through the generations. "Love you enemies, do good, give to those who ask, share everything and know that tears will some day become joy and laughter." This is my paraphrase, but important ways of living that we should be dwelling on today, especially in the present climate. Our job is to light a candle, pray and love as we are able. We are invited by God, in this thin time of year to remember those who have tuaght us how to live and love, and to live like them, full of compassion and justice.
Today I ask God to help me live like a disciple. I need help to remember that God is with us in the midst of trials and darkness. May we all remember today how blessed we are and share all that we have so that the world might be full of the light of love.