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Shine Our Light

Matthew 5:13-16

Christ affirms us today by saying ‘We are light of the world’ and that we are called to shine our light in the sight of those around us. We shine our light by acts of love and courage. Such acts are inspirational. They move us and invite us to give thanks and praise to God for such acts of selflessness.

How can we shine our light today? And who are we grateful for in shining their light to us?

We are taking our seminarians to the far North over the next few days to visit some of the historical places of significance for us in Aotearoa/New Zealand, as Marists and as Church.

We will visit Russell, Waitangi, Totara Point and Motiti.

Russell has a shrine to St Peter Chanel who was an early Marist missionary killed on the island of Futuna after a difficult mission there over 3 years and whose body lay for 7 years in the grounds of Pompallier house in Russell before being returned to France. Those early missionaries were courageous in leaving their homelands often never to return in order to share their faith with those who had never heard the Gospel.

Totara Point is where Bishop Pompallier offered the first Mass in the house of Thomas and Mary Poynton and Motiti is where he is now laid to rest in the little church there. These pioneers were not perfect by any means, but we owe a great deal to them for stepping out in faith and shining their light in what were very trying times.

Waitangi of course is the beautiful site in the Bay of Islands where the signing of the Treaty took place and has been the focus of our National day during the past week. Those involved in the signing had a dream for our country which is still being realized and remains an important symbol for us as a nation and the partnership between Tangata Whenua and Tau iwi. Those who continue to work and live ensuring the honouring of the treaty I believe are shining their light among us.

Acts of love and courage are not always on a dramatic scale. They are simple acts of kindness offered by ordinary human beings wanting to acknowledge the gift and dignity of other people.

You may wish to listen to ‘He Waiata mo Waitangi’ from Under Southern Stars. I was inspired to write the song in 1990 which was the 150th anniversary of the signing. So much has happened for the better since then and there is still more to be achieved.

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