Priests Are Lighthouses
(based upon Ephesians 5: 1-13)
Priests are lighthouses! A lighthouse by definition is a structure topped with a powerful light used as a beacon or signal to guide marine navigation. It is what sailors depend upon in stormy weather or darkness to get back to shore safely. This scripture passage talks of those in darkness. There is, what I call, an ocean of darkness out there in the world. Scripture talks of the immoral, impure, greedy, and disobedient, whom are all in darkness. I, myself was lost in this ocean of darkness at one time ( Actually, I was sinking fast!). It was through the example of some great priests and lay people, especially my family, that guided me out of these waters. However, for the purposes of this reflection, I will focus on priests being lighthouses. Notice, I said that we guide people back to shore. We cant physically grab those that are lost and carry them back. We are mere instruments in Gods mighty hand, just as the lighthouse is a mere instrument to the lost ships. It is ultimately God who converts, comforts, and changes the hearts of man. We, can only be lights to the people. One of the qualities of light is to illuminate or make things visible with the Truth of Jesus. We must be lights to those in darkness in our everyday actions and words.
We must also preach the truth to people. The Scripture says to take no part in the fruitless works of darkness; rather expose them. WHY? To embarrass those in darkness? No, by placing the truth or the light next to the darkness or confusion, one can see his own sinfulness. Just as a Doctor is obliged to reveal a disease to his patient, so he can get treatment, we must make people aware of the reality of sin, so they can get treated. It is here that true conversion can begin. If we never preach the truth of sin, then how will people ever see the need to begin conversion and repentance? This will be our main goal as priests; to sanctify souls.
Another quality of light is to bring warmth. We, in speaking the truth will have to speak with love, true love. In this ocean of darkness there are not only those that are living in serious sin, but also those that are suffering. We are going to have to be there for them also. It is they who also depend upon us for direction, just as sailors depend upon the lighthouse for direction. In fact, one group that we are going to be approached by in our ministries, without a doubt, are those women that are suffering from the effects of an abortion they may have had 5, 10, 15 years ago. When they finally come to see how they were lied to by all those who claim to be for "womens choice", it will be us who will be there to offer the love and mercy of Jesus. May we be lighthouses to those we meet now and in our future ministries. May we, as mere instruments of God, bring those in the ocean of darkness back to shore safely, so they may to live in the light of Christ.
John Sistare, Seminarian of Diocese of Providence
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