We seek the light in darkness. And when we have the light, it all seems like an awakening at dawn. Light dissipates the night; night gives way to the brightness of day and the sun floods the earth with its golden rays. Which would we rather be, night or day, light or darkness? Or even in the utter blackness of night, the one star that can defeat the darkness? So would all the darkness brought on by people need our light, just as we would need even a candlelight or any flashlight during a brownout.
Outside nature’s night, we have countless darkness in our life brought on by our wickedness and sins. As the prophet Isaiah attests, "we carry out our own pursuits and drive all our laborers our fast ends in quarreling and fighting, striking with wicked claw." This, rather is the light that the Lord wishes: "Releasing all those bound unjustly setting free the oppressed, breaking every yoke; sharing your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; clothing the naked when you see them and not turning your back on your own. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn and the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard if you remove from your midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech if you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted, then light shall rise for you in the darkness and the gloom shall become for you like midday" (Isa. 58:7-10).
It is understood from God’s Word today through the mouth of the prophet that darkness in the world is perpetrated by those who incur gross inhumanity to man: Violating man’s dignity by using them to the hilt, exploiting them as if they are mere commodities or machines in order to enrich oneself, thievery by impoverishment because they are not given just compensation, by devaluing them, stealing from them the credit due to them because of their talents and accomplishments and crediting these accomplishments as due to oneself — all these and many more sins against justice, freedom, truth and all which drive them to the edge so that they find recourse in such practices as robbery, prostitution, drug pushing (the drug lords as well as government officials who are bribed into tolerating them). Another darkness, which covers the land like a plague, is corruption in businesses and the marketplace, prominently in the government. This is the main cause why the poor become poorer and the corrupt become richer exorbitantly so that lately, authorities have began investigating government and military personnel who have acquired mansions and lands unaffordable by the regular income they receive.
Who, then, are the light of the world? All those who take to a preferential option for the poor taking time out to increase their economic, cultural and religious opportunities to raise their quality of life. They are the light of the world who work for justice, who propagate the truth, who do works of mercy and compassion especially to the lowly, the oppressed and afflicted, those who work for the development of peoples, those who evangelize and spiritualize every area of human life, those who promote family integrity, in a word those who serve unselfishly fellowmen, country and God, meekly and humbly.
Following His proclamation of the Beatitudes whereby we are constituted "blessed ," Jesus begins His teaching by telling us "Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good works and glorify your heavenly Father" (Mt. 5:16).
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Matthew 5:13-16.