From the Pastor – February 6, 2010

You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father. (Mt. 5:14-16)

Just last week we celebrated a beautiful school Mass in St. Stephen Church celebrating the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lord. It’s a Mass traditionally called “Candlemass” because it commemorates the presentation of Jesus in the temple when Simeon declared Him the “a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel.” One of the things that made the Mass special was that our school children from St. Stephen Catholic School were joined at this Mass by the lower school of the Academy of the Sacred Heart and their parents. It was so wonderful to have an entirely full church of happy, well-behaved children joyously joining together in song and prayer. The girls from Sacred Heart sang one of their favorite songs for the “Light of the World” Mass: “This Little Light of Mine.”  And out students really practiced to lead the Mass parts in Latin chant: the “Sanctus” and the Agnus Dei.” And afterward, St. Stephen School hosted the Sacred Heart girls to doughnuts and milk for breakfast.

At the school Masses, I usually ask questions of the students during my homily, and this week was no different, except that I had twice as many children from which to choose! And I love their answers. When I asked the first words God spoke in the Old Testament, a St. Stephen student correctly answered, “let there be light.”

And when I asked whether there was a light at the birth of Jesus, another St. Stephen student remembered the Star of Bethlehem.  And when I asked if there was a light in St. Stephen Church that was always lit, a Sacred Heart student pointed to the Sanctuary Lamp. And when I asked why that lamp was lit, another Sacred Heart girl knew that it indicated that the Blessed Sacrament – Jesus, the Light of the World – was in the Tabernacle.

Jesus is the light. And this weekend Jesus asks us to bring His light to others by allowing our light to shine before men.   Light came into the world through the Word at Creation.  And the Word became flesh in Mary’s womb. And that Body of Christ is present in our church in the tabernacle.  And last week I saw that light in the eyes of some beautiful students witnessing their faith to me. Sometimes we spend too much time talking about how we need to be good examples and bring the faith to others. I can often time find greater happiness when someone shows their faith – their light – to me!

Rev. Msgr. Christopher H. Nalty