It is Our Privilege and Responsibility To Be the Light of Christ
By Bishop David J. Malloy
As we conclude the Christmas Season, we might do well to reflect on one of the major themes that appears in the Scriptures and that is a fundamental part of the Church’s faith in this sacred time. That is the theme of dark and light.
Faith has found in the prophet Isaiah passages that foretold not only the coming of Jesus that we have just celebrated again, but also explain what the incarnation at that first Christmas in Bethlehem meant for us.
For example, we are told, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Upon those who lived in a land of gloom a light has shone” (Is 9:1). 
Last Sunday, in our first reading we heard, “See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; but upon you the Lord shines, and over you appears His glory” (Is 60:2).
Isaiah is pointing out to us that before the coming of Jesus, because of original sin, the world had lost its light, its way to God. The human race turned away from God and was wandering in darkness. 
And even now, there is darkness wherever Jesus is rejected and where God is not truly sought and obeyed in our world.
We all know that darkness all too well, even if we seek to turn our eyes from it. The spiritual struggles of every person remind us that within our hearts there remain at least corners of darkness still in need of prayer and repentance. 
The cacophony of our public and political discourse, the news of wars and violence all over the world and the oppression of our fellow Christians, especially in the Holy Land where Jesus was born, are just a short list of some of the darkness that is always around us.
The coming of Jesus, of the Son of God in our human nature, was God’s definitive move to restore what had been lost and to give us unconquerable light in the midst of the world’s darkness. The fact that upon us the Lord shines and His glory appears over us as a result of the birth of Jesus is then both a privilege and a responsibility.
It is a privilege because each of us has been blessed to have known the one true God and His plan for each of us and for the world. It could have been different. How many throughout history never encountered faith or a missionary to tell them the Good News? How many never heard the name of Jesus?
It is a responsibility because we are called to live as Jesus lived and as He taught. That has never been easy because the temptations and the pressures of the world, including the violent pressures that produce martyrs in every age, tempt us to seek an easier way, an accommodation with the darkness.
The great consolation is this: Jesus has told us that He is with us — His friends — in every age. He was not simply a burst of light, born 2,000 years ago and then gone, only left in memory. Rather, He remains with each of us and especially with His Church.
Our life of prayer and our reception of the sacraments, especially the Eucharist and confession, are the moments when Jesus constantly fills us with, and renews within us, the light in the midst of lots of darkness. 
When challenges seem too great or evil too strong, we need to recall that that weak child born in the manger is the promise that God overcomes every form of darkness.
This New Year, let’s recommit ourselves again, and even more strongly, to our faith. Because of Jesus’ birth we have the light and we become light for others. And we and they need that light as part of God’s plan.