Usually when we think of poverty we think of the materially needy, but there are all kinds of poverty in the world today that we can help to address. Saint Teresa of Calcutta once said, “We think sometimes that poverty is only being hungry, naked and homeless. The poverty of being unwanted, unloved and uncared for is the greatest poverty. We must start in our own homes to remedy this kind of poverty” (source:http://www.catholic.org/clife/teresa/quotes.php).
Being a light in the world is not just satisfying material needs, but something deeper. Saint Teresa also said, “There is more hunger in the world for love and appreciation in this world than for bread”. The true poverty against which we must struggle is a poverty of love. As she put it, “It is not the magnitude of our actions but the
amount of love that is put into them that matters”. If you love, your actions will start to reflect it. This kind of “hunger” is everywhere, rich and poor. Seek to satisfy not only in what you do, but in how you do it.
Our Lord also reminds us in today’s Gospel that Christianity is meant to be a light on a high place or a lamp stand, it is meant to shed light on many things, even things not directly considered Christian, because ultimately the Gospel is a message of truth and goodness that contributes to every level and sector of society, directly or indirectly. There are ethical and philosophical truths that any reasonable person can consider, even if they don’t believe any or some of the tenets of Christian faith, and those ethical and philosophical truths can open the door to their conversion. Instructing the ignorant is also a work of mercy. People are starved for love, but they’re also starved for truth. Charity begins at home. Feed yourself on true love and true knowledge so that you can share that love and knowledge with others. You need it and so do they.
May your light shine in the darkness always,
Deacon Mark Ruiz