Tuesday 13 June 2023 Saint Antony of Padua, Priest, Doctor, Week 10 in Ordinary Time
2 Corinthians 1:18-22
I swear by God’s truth, there is no Yes and No about what we say to you. The Son of God, the Christ Jesus that we proclaimed among you – I mean Silvanus and Timothy and I – was never Yes and No: with him it was always Yes, and however many the promises God made, the Yes to them all is in him. That is why it is ‘through him’ that we answer Amen to the praise of God. Remember it is God himself who assures us all, and you, of our standing in Christ, and has anointed us, marking us with his seal and giving us the pledge, the Spirit, that we carry in our hearts.
Psalm 118 Let your face shine on your servant.
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You are the salt of the earth. But if salt becomes tasteless, what can make it salty again? It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out to be trampled underfoot by men.
‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in the sight of men, so that, seeing your good works, they may give the praise to your Father in heaven.’
Usually when we refer to someone as a “Yes-person” we mean something derogatory. A “yes-person” is a person (especially a man) who agrees with everything that someone else says: a person who supports the opinions or ideas of someone else in order to earn that person’s approval. We are not referring to the best in someone but an unwanted trait of personality that has to please others and lacks the fortitude and capacity to make hard decisions that require a “No!”.
However, when Paul speaks of Jesus, he says that with him it is always Yes. There is nothing in Jesus that is mediocre or half-way there, and in him there is no, No, to what the Father calls him to be. The salt that is the life of Jesus seasons the world and brings it alive, and his light shines out for all the world to see. Jesus is for us is a brilliant lamp and the most flavoursome seasoning.
In our time, many have lost the sense of life and claim it is not worth living; that life is full of disappointments, difficulties and suffering; that it goes by very fast and that it has death, as a final perspective, and a sad one too. Yet as we heard yesterday from St. Paul, the Christian perspective that is given to us by Jesus, is that paradox that helps us to find hope, rather than despair, joy rather than disappointment, and freedom rather than suffering.
In her book A return to love: Reflections on the principles of a course in miracles, Ms Marianne Williamson writes;
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, “Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God, your playing small doesn’t serve the world. There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people our permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
May each one of us be a “yes-person”, just like Jesus was!
Yes to being salt for the earth and yes to being a light that shines in the darkness!