Balik-Tanaw | Letting the Light Shine Through

Redemptorist Postulant

Is 58:7-10
Ps 112:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
1 Cor 2:1-5
Mt 5:13-16

As I began reflecting on our Readings this Sunday, I cannot help but recall a simple story about a kid who was asked during class by his teacher about what a “saint” is. The child – having seen and been amazed by their church’s colourful stained-glass windows depicting some of the most well-known, exemplary personalities of the Christian faith – gladly replied: “A saint is someone that the light shines through!”

Saints, then, must have lived very colourful and meaningful lives. Humans as they are, they had flaws, weaknesses, and shortcomings – yet despite all of these they chose to let their words and actions radiate the Light that comes from, and is, Jesus himself. They are those who committed and still choose to commit themselves into enkindling the sparks of God’s Kingdom – the extraordinary values of love, justice, peace, redemption, and solidarity – in the most ordinary circumstances and realities they are in. Mga karaniwang taong may di-pangkaraniwang pagmamahal at paninindigan.

They are those who “share [their] bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless” as the Prophet Isaiah mentioned in our First Reading. They are the many, nameless individuals, groups, and communities who had fostered and continue to foster social solidarity in the time of the pandemic and in today’s worsening economic situation, a culture of encounter and listening by opening avenues for conversations and integration with and among the poorest sectors of society. They humbly offer their lives as participants, who blend their aspirations and dreams with the deprived and the oppressed, hence one with them in working for liberation. They receive the wisdom from below and acknowledge the conscientizing power of the poor. They are willing to be mobilized by the most deprived and oppressed towards the attainment of their God-given dignity and rights.

They are those who keep on “remov[ing] from [their] midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech” especially at this time when our collective truth as a people is being distorted by those in power and deceitful tactics such as red-tagging are prevalent. They are the most ordinary people – workers, farmers, indigenous people, urban poor, youth, doctors, environmental and human-rights advocates, Church people who go out of “hiding from their respective cit[ies] set on a mountain” to spread the light of militant and defiant hope during these times of unrest and persecution.

They are, indeed, the Gospel’s salt of the earth and light of the world – adding an ever-new, ever-hopeful flavour to the overall quest of humanity towards the active waiting for the coming of God’s Kingdom here on earth, and shedding sparks of Plentiful Redemption in our “here” and “now.”

Saints are persons whose “light shines through.” This understanding of who saints are reminded me of the symbolic lanterns we carried during the Martial Law @ 50 Day of Remembrance last year. These bore the pictures of Fr. Rudy Romano, Fr. Tullio Favali, Carlos Tayag, Filomena Asuncion, the “Cassandra Martyrs,” and the many others who did let the Light shine through by going out of the comforts of their convents and offering eventually their lives in total and radical embrace of and solidarity with the poorest and oppressed of the time. During the night, the bulbs inside these very lanterns were lit; thus, highlighting their faces – and along with those, their life stories and the very cause which they spent their missionary zeal and died for: Having found the Light of Christ among the joys, struggles, and hopes of the people whom they were called to serve.

Sa bawat pahina ng kasaysayan

Ay gintong talang laging masisilayan,

At ang kahulugan sa mahihirap:


Balik-Tanaw is a group blog of Promotion of Church People’s Response. The Lectionary Gospel reflection is an invitation for meditation, contemplation, and action. As we nurture our faith by committing ourselves to journey with the people, we also wish to nourish the perspective coming from the point of view of hope and struggle of the people. It is our constant longing that even as crisis intensifies, the faithful will continue to strengthen their commitment to love God and our neighbor by being one with the people in their dreams and aspirations. The Title of the Lectionary Reflection would be Balik –Tanaw , isang PAGNINILAY . It is about looking back (balik) or revisiting the narratives and stories from the Biblical text and seeing, reading, and reflecting on these with the current context (tanaw).

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