Memorial of St. John Neumann

Christ is our Light!  This great proclamation from the Easter vigil of the Resurrection is also fitting for the whole of our Lord’s earthly life. According to St. Matthew, the very presence of Jesus in the lands of Zebulun and Naphtali was enough to fulfill the prophecy of Isaiah: “the people who sit in darkness have seen a great light.” (Matt. 4:15; Isa. 8:23) When Christ our Light is present, as we read in the Gospel, the Kingdom is proclaimed, illness is healed, pain alleviated, and the devil is banished.

Seeing what the presence of Jesus does helps us to understand why the first letter of John is so insistent upon belief in His Name and confession of His coming. It also helps us to see why St. John Neumann would leave his native Bohemia, and cross the Atlantic, just so that he could be ordained. It was because he served Jesus that he endured the mockery of his short stature and thick accent, why he stood up against those who would burn parishes and convents, why he emphasized the need for Catholic schools in his diocese of Philadelphia.

As we contemplate Christ our Light today, as we behold him teaching and healing those who are brought to him, let us ask him for two graces: docility and zeal. Docility, so that we may let his teaching deepen in our hearts, and thus let his light shine upon us. And zeal, so that we may seek to share his words and presence with others, and so let his light shine through us.

January 5th, 2015