The great candelabrum

Dont think that John alone is a lamp; the Apostles also are lamps. The Lord said to them, "You are the light of the world," and so they wouldnt think that they were the same sort of light as the one of whom it was said, "He was the true light that enlightens every man who comes into the world," he at once teaches them the true light itself. After saying, "You are the light of the world," he added, "No one lights a lamp and places it under a bushel." When I said you were a light I meant that you are a lamp. If you exult in your pride, you will be blown out. I am not placing you under a bushel; you will be on a candelabrum so that you may shine. What is this lamps candelabrum? Be content to be lamps and you will have the candelabrum. The cross of Christ is a great candelabrum. Anyone who wants to shine should not be embarrassed because this candelabrum is made of wood. So you may understand that Christs cross is a candelabrum, listen: "No one lights a lamp and places it under a bushel, but on a candelabrum so that it may shine on all those who are in the house. May your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorifynot the way you seek to be glorified, seek to be extinguishedso they may glorify your Father who is in heaven." May your good works glorify your Father. You were not able to light yourselves so that you could be lamps; you could not place yourselves upon a candelabrum: give the glory to the one who gave this to you. Listen to Paul the Apostle; listen to a lamp exulting on the candelabrum: "For me," he says (those who know what follows are shouting), "For me, however,.." (What, Paul?), "far be it to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ through whom the world is crucified to me and I to the world" (Gal 6:14).... Glory in the candelabrum, O lamp; always keep your humble place on the candelabrum so that you may continue to shine. Keep it there, or pride will extinguish you. (Augustine, Sermon 289, 6; PL 38, 1311-1312)

Rev. Joseph A. Komonchak, professor emeritus of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America, is a retired priest of the Archdiocese of New York.

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