Alternate reading: Mark 16:15-18

Mark 4:21-25

21 And he said to them, "Is a lamp brought in to be put under a bushel, or under a bed, and not on a stand? 22 For there is nothing hid, except to be made manifest; nor is anything secret, except to come to light. 23 If any man has ears to hear, let him hear." 24 And he said to them, "Take heed what you hear; the measure you give will be the measure you get, and still more will be given you. 25 For to him who has will more be given; and from him who has not, even what he has will be taken away."

Meditation: What does the image of light and a lamp tell us about God's kingdom? Lamps in the ancient world served a vital function, much like they do today. They enable people to see and work in the dark and to avoid stumbling or losing their way. The Jews also understood "light" as an expression of the inner beauty, truth, and goodness of God. Many passages from the Old Testament Scriptures describe how God's light guides and helps us grow in our knowledge of him and his truth and wisdom for our lives. In his light we see light ( Psalm 36:9). His word is a lamp that guides our steps (Psalm 119:105).

We are light-bearers of God's truth and love
The truth cannot remain hidden, or suppressed, or destroyed. We might refuse to face the truth or try to suppress it, or destroy it, but the truth will always prevail because it is indestructible. That is why God wants us to know the truth and to stake our lives on it. God's grace (his indwelling presence and power at work in us) and his word of truth enable us to hear, believe, and obey him without fear or reservation. Just as natural light prevails over the darkness around us and enable us to see clearly, so the light of Christ shines in the hearts of all who hear and believe his word. God wants to fill us with his Holy Spirit so that we may shine brightly with the radiance of his truth, love, and goodness.

Jesus called John the Baptist "a burning and shining lamp" (John 5:35) because he bore witness to God's word and pointed others to Jesus, the true Light and Savior of the world. Our call and mission, like John the Baptist, is to be light-bearers of Jesus Christ so that many others may hear and understand the truth of the Gospel (the good news of Jesus Christ) and be set free from the blindness of sin, ignorance, and deception.

Living in the light brings true freedom and joy
Jesus remarks that nothing can remain hidden or secret. We can try to hide things from others, from ourselves, and from God. How tempting to shut our eyes from the consequences of our sinful ways or bad habits, even when we know what those consequences are. And how tempting to hide them from others and even from God. But, nonetheless, everything is known to God who sees all.

There is great freedom and joy for those who live in God's light and who seek his truth and goodness. Those who listen to God and heed his voice will receive more from him. And they will not lack what they need to live as Christ's disciples. And they will shine as lights that show the wisdom and truth of God's word. Do you know the joy and freedom of living in God's light and truth?

Lord Jesus, you guide me by the light of your saving truth. Fill my heart and mind with your light and truth and free me from the blindness of sin, ignorance, and deception that I may see your ways clearly and understand your will for my life. May I radiate your light and truth to others in word and deed.

Psalm 132:1-5, 11-14

1 Remember, O LORD, in David's favor, all the hardships he endured;
2 how he swore to the LORD and vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob,
3 "I will not enter my house or get into my bed;
4 I will not give sleep to my eyes or slumber to my eyelids,
5 until I find a place for the LORD, a dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob."
11 The LORD swore to David a sure oath from which he will not turn back: "One of the sons of your body I will set on your throne.
12 If your sons keep my covenant and my testimonies which I shall teach them, their sons also for ever shall sit upon your throne."
13 For the LORD has chosen Zion; he has desired it for his habitation:
14 "This is my resting place for ever; here I will dwell, for I have desired it.

Daily Quote from the Early Church Fathers: Called to shine in the midst of darkness, by Tertullian, 160-225 A.D.

"Why does the Lord call us the light of the world? Why has he compared us to a city on a hill (Matthew 5:14)? Are we not called to shine in the midst of darkness, and stand up high for those most sunk down? If you hide your lamp beneath a bushel (Matthew 5:15; Luke 8:16, 11:33), you will soon notice that you yourself will be in the dark. You will find others bumping into you. So what can you do to illumine the world? Let your faith produce good works. Be a reflection of God's light. The good is not preoccupied with darkness. It rejoices in being seen (John 3:21). It exults over the very pointings which are made at it. Christian modesty not only wishes to be modest, but also it wishes to be beheld as what it actually is." (excerpt from ON THE APPAREL OF WOMEN 2.13)