The Bible in Dialogue with Questions of the Day. Reflection and Dialogue: Christians the light of the world; the Centrality of the Cross.
Reflection. The reflection given above on the Gospel reading, on Christians as the light of the world, gives ample food for thought.
Dialogue with contemporary society: Human wisdom and Divine Wisdom. Ever since the eighteenth-century philosophical Movement of the Enlightenment there has been an understanding of the “light” proper to humanity quite different from that of the Gospel and Jesus’ words read today. Although there has been, and is, quite a difference of opinions among members of the Movement, a commonly accepted principle among them is that the human mind, and the senses are sufficient guide in human affairs, without any interference from heaven or any otherworldly voice. No such outside interference would be acceptable to them. This situation is very much part of the world in which we live. On the other hand, we have the Christian position as formulated by Paul that human wisdom is deficient in matters relating to knowledge of God. Paul’s words on knowledge of the mystery of God and the centrality of divine wisdom as revealed in the Cross are still valid and fundamental principles of our faith. While it is true that the modern view of human life has accepted quite an amount from the Beatitudes and the Sermon on the Mount, there are a number of elements of the Enlightenment and what it stands for which cannot be accepted by Christians. And Christians will continue to believe that the “power” which in the first instance gave faith in Christ and the Cross is still at work. Faith comes from this power, and is kept alive and active in our own day by prayer and devotion.
(For reflections on the Sunday and Feast Day readings see Martin McNamara, Sunday Readings with Matthew: Interpretations and Reflections, Dublin, Veritas, 2016)