Jesus always new
The lamp is the light of love and hope, and at its centre is the light of Christ. The light is given to us in many ways in our lives – it shines within as an eternal joy, and outwards to many others. Jesus often advises, ‘keep your lamps burning’ and ‘Let your lights shine.
Like when the bulb goes out when the electricity fails, the lamp can go out without oil. The people of the gospel felt foolish that they had not brought oil with them to light their way. The oil is prayer in our relationship with Jesus. This is the essence of the Christian life. Our Christian life is following a real, loving person: it is an invitation to get to know Jesus, and to find ourselves drawn from our hearts to follow him. Without this living relationship with Christ, words sound empty. We sometimes hear someone speaking of their Christian faith and cannot help wondering if it comes from the inside or is just a list of things to be believed and read.
Ignatius of Loyola’s famous prayer is the prayer of the follower of Jesus; ‘Lord, teach me to know you more, love you more and serve you more faithfully in my life.’ (Spiritual Exercises). The more indicates that this is never a finished product: like love and friendship it grows in our lives. It is exciting that Jesus is never gone from us : risen from the dead he is always alive, always new. Our reading of the gospel, our sharing at Mass and the sacraments and our personal prayer keep this relationship always alive, always new.
Thinking of a bright lamp, or imagining one,
ask for an ever-brightening light of Christ in your life.
Lord, teach me to know, love and serve you more faithfully every day.
Donal Neary SJ