A New Opportunity to Share My Light
We most commonly associate light with the season of Advent. Each week, we light a candle of the Advent wreath. Christmas lights start popping up all around town. Advent takes place during the darkest month of the year, but the readings of the season remind us that we “are the light of the world” (Matthew 5:14) and encourage us to share that light with others.
Light is a big part of the Lenten season, too. On the Second Sunday of Lent, we heard Matthew’s Gospel account of the transfiguration, when Jesus’ “face shone like the sun and his clothes became white as light” (Matthew 17:2). We just recently prayed together in the glow of candlelight at our Lenten Taizé Prayer Service. As we sang “Holy Darkness,” we each processed up to the cross and lit our prayer candles. As we left each candle at the cross, the light in the sanctuary grew brighter. We could visibly see how we diminish the darkness when we join our prayers together and share our light with each other instead of keeping it to ourselves. As Jesus taught us, “Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house” (Matthew 5:15).
Now we come to this Sunday’s readings. The Fourth Sunday of Lent, also known as Laetare Sunday, invites us to rejoice. We have reached the midpoint of Lent, and we are closer to celebrating the joy of Easter, nearer to that moment at the Easter Vigil when the new Pascal Candle is lit. Those who have been to the Easter Vigil can testify to how splendid a sight it is to see the whole church brightened by the candles we light from the Pascal Candle, symbolizing the light of Christ, rising in glory, scattering the darkness of our hearts and minds. We also celebrate as our catechumens receive the light of Christ at their baptism. St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians this Sunday reminds us of that light. He writes, “Brothers and sisters: You were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light, for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth” (Ephesians 5:8-9).
With this symbolism of light in mind and gratitude in my heart, I must share some news with you. I began working at St. Francis of Assisi on October 12, 2015. After nearly seven and a half years at this parish, I have accepted a job offer from my alma mater, Trinity University, and will be starting my new position in the Alumni Relations and Development Office on April 3, 2023. Because St. Francis holds such a special place in my heart, this decision involved deep, prayerful reflection and contemplation, but I believe that the Holy Spirit is guiding me down this path as the next appropriate step in my life and my career.
Since I first stepped foot into the parish office, I have felt nothing but an incredible sense of warm, welcoming hospitality from all of you. Thank you for the friendships we have shared and the projects and initiatives we have collaborated on. Most of all, thank you for showing me what a truly vibrant parish community looks like and can accomplish together.
Thank you to Fr. Tony and the remarkable parish staff. I say it all of the time, but you really are like family to me. We have watched each other grow in tremendous ways over the years and have accompanied one another in seasons of joy and sadness, emerging stronger and more connected through every challenge and triumph.
I want to make it clear that this is not goodbye. I still plan on attending St. Francis; in fact, I will now get to worship with you in the pews again! While I am glad that we have been able to provide the invaluable service of live streaming throughout the pandemic years, I have deeply missed being out there next to all of you in the sanctuary, joining my voice with yours in prayer and song.
Please pray for me as I prepare for my new job. I see this as a great opportunity to let my light shine before others, glorifying God by my good deeds (Matthew 5:16). Know that this amazing parish family will always be in my prayers.
Yours in Christ,