Less Noise, More Light

(Homily for Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A)

Historians today consider Abraham Lincoln to be one of the greatest, if not the greatest, president of this country. However, that greatness was not evident to all during his lifetime. Lincoln received a large amount of bitter – and often contradictory – criticism.

To his critics Lincoln told a story about a traveler who got caught in a terrible thunderstorm. The night was totally dark and the flashes of lightning provided the only clues to the path. One bolt struck quite close and the crash of thunder brought the man down to his knees. He was not a praying man, but he made a short fervent petition, "Oh Lord! If it’s all the same to you, give me a little more light and little less noise."

All of us can identify with that prayer. We live in a world of a lot of noise. It can sometimes confuse and disorient us. What we need is less noise and a bit more light. This Wednesday we begin a season which invites us to turn off the noise and let in the light. On Ash Wednesday, Jesus calls us to embrace the practices of prayer, fasting and almsgiving – not to make a public show, but to allow God’s light to enter our hearts.

As we pray for God’s light, we ask that we might in some way become vehicles of that light to others. It is fairly easy to make noise, but a lot harder to give light. It requires restraint, timing, discipline – above all, asking the Lord to help us say the right word at the correct moment.

I am not talking about being brilliant – most of us are not. What counts is being steady and thoughtful. A lightning flash gives off enormous energy – and noise – but it lasts only a few seconds. What if all that energy could be harnessed? Scientists at General Electric once calculated that a single bolt of lightning has enough voltage to light a home for 35 years.

Jesus tells his disciples, “You are the light of the world.” As we approach the beginning of Lent, we ask Jesus that we might give off less noise – and more light.


Spanish Version

From Archives (Fifth Ordinary Sunday, Year A):

2014: Where Your Synthesis is
2011: Kalos
2005: Less Noise, More Light
2002: When Salt Loses Its Taste
1999: A Sure Thing

Seapadre Homilies: Cycle A, Cycle B, Cycle C

Sunday Homilies

Audio Files of Homilies

Podcasts of homilies (website of my niece, Sara)

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Bulletin (Documents Discovered, Reception Results, Comparison of Collections)


Father John Corapi, SOLT, will again be at Holy Family on February 18th and 19th. To register for his conference, please fill out the registration form, and return it to the parish office. For more information please contact Tony Ritchie at (206) 244-1310.

Click here to view a message from Fr. Corapi regarding the topics of his talks.

Holy Family Capital Campaign, 1953

From Seattle P-I: Abortion opponents find powerful ally in ultrasound
(How did that article slip by the editors - or do local papers have guilty conscience for ignoring the Silent No More Rally?)

West Coast Walk for Life provokes counter-protest:

An estimated 1000 of them chanted obscenities, threw condoms at walkers, harassed catholic priests about molesting children. Rows of them gave walkers ‘half a peace sign’ chanting the f word that goes with it. In all my 38 years of activism in the civil rights movement, in the anti-war, human rights, and justice for jobs marches, never have I witnessed such hatred, such vitriolic and pornographic anger that was displayed to the Walkers. The hostility of the protesters’ signs spoke of every private body part and cannot be repeated in this report. Violence and animosity may not have been expressed by a few. In all due respect, most of my pro-choice friends would have been scandalized and horrified by this behavior. But if even one peaceful protester was there, he or she was no where to be found. (from report by Carol Crossed, Democrats for Life)

Bias Detected in Super Bowl Ad Protest

Parish Picture Album

Bulletin (St. Mary's Parish)

Parish Picture Album

MBC - Mary Bloom Center, Puno, Peru