Lifting up his eyes to heaven, Jesus prayed saying: “Holy Father, I pray not only for them, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, so that they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you, that they also may be in us, that the world may believe that you sent me.
Growing up, I had a lot of friends who were mechanically inclined. They could craft and fix things. They could make engines run better – and louder – which we all loved.
I, for my part, did not get any of those skills. My friends, being generous, asked me try a couple of times, but they soon realized I was better at dropping and breaking than fixing.
That said, they did give me a job. I got to hold the shop lamp or the flashlight.
To a young person who wanted to be cool, it was a bit of a letdown, but it did teach me several important lessons.
The foremost lesson was the importance of properly focused light. No job can get done, and mistakes happen, without light.
Think of the things we heard in the readings and gospel today. Stephen, the deacon, is being murdered by those who rejected Jesus. In the face of persecution and sure death he held out his light. He firmly declared the Divinity of Jesus, reaffirmed his faith in Jesus, and forgave those who stoned him. Certainly, this is a light for Christians to this very day. Like Stephen, we must commit to being light even in the greatest darkness.
John, exiled to Patmos, hears the testimony of Jesus Who is returning. He brings recompense according to our deeds, i.e., the amount of light we shine. We must wash our robes in His blood, be buried with Him, suffer with Him so that we may enter the city through its gates. That means we must commit to being steady lights in all situations.
Jesus prays for His disciples – and for those who would come to believe through their being His light in the world. They were to teach, preach, evangelize, baptize, and bring people to the Table of the Lord – not for numbers, or attendees, or any other reason than to know the light of true and everlasting love – love defined by God. So we are to go out as light.
Whether we are handy or not, we are called to hold up that light for nothing will happen without our being His light.