The light at dawn and dusk can take your breath away. In photography circles it is known as the golden hour. God spray paints with a touch of golden light and landscapes seem to shimmer with it.
In the first reading from Isaiah, we learn that our healing with spring up quickly and light shall break forth like the dawn when we fast as God wants us to–by loosening the bonds of injustice, undoing the thongs of the yoke, and freeing the oppressed. God hears the cry of the poor and answers: Here I am. If we feed the hungry, lift up the oppressed, and assist the afflicted, our light shall rise in the darkness.
The psalmist too promises that light shall rise for the upright. Hearts who trust in the Lord will be unafraid. They shall be exalted. In the Second Reading, we are reminded that our faith must rely on the power of God. The Gospel claims us as children of God, salt of the earth and light for the world. It is not our power that is at the forefront here but what we do must point to God. Our good works and our gifts are for the glory of the Giver. We are to shine to light the path for others to walk in, for others to find the Giver.
I have been thinking about gifts this week. I am trying to embrace a rather odd gift that I have. As I watched Frozen this afternoon, I empathized with Elsa whose gift of creating winter is both beautiful and dangerous. She choses to hide her gift behind locked doors and suffers greatly for it, as does her family, especially her younger sister Anna. Later, it worsens as she does not know how to control it and rather than shine, she spreads darkness and fear. She does not use her gift to lift up the oppressed but rather causes havoc. Finally, when Love steps in, the gift is appreciated for its beauty and wonder.
How often do we not see Love in our darkness? If we believe and trust in the power of God, Love prevails and the gifts that we have illuminate our world. What gift do you need to allow to shine?