Mysteries of Light

Last Updated on February 3, 2023 by GMC

“Mysteries of Light”
A reflection on Mark 4:21-23
Thursday of the Third Week in Ordinary Time
©2022 by Gloria M. Chang

Jesus said to his disciples, “Is a lamp brought in to be placed under a bushel basket or under a bed, and not to be placed on a lampstand? For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible; nothing is secret except to come to light. Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear.” 

Mark 4:21-23

Heralds of the Light

The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:5

Christ, the Light of the world, escapes concealment by blazing on a lampstand. Children of God must also shine like lights in the world (Philippians 2:15).

You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.

Matthew 5:14

By word and life, disciples of Christ prophetically herald divine revelation.

“The mystery of the kingdom of God has been granted to you.”

Mark 4:11

Dark Sayings of Old

“For there is nothing hidden except to be made visible; nothing is secret except to come to light.”

Mark 4:22; cf. Luke 8:17

What are the hidden secrets of God? Since this maxim follows a series of parables in Mark and Luke, it evidently points to the eternal wisdom of God.

All this Jesus said to the crowds in parables; indeed he said nothing to them without a parable. This was to fulfill what was spoken by the prophet:

“I will open my mouth in parables,
I will utter what has been hidden since the foundation of the world.”

Matthew 13:34-35 (RSV)

Traced to its root, the quote comes from a Hebrew Psalmist recounting God’s faithfulness and Israel’s infidelity through the centuries.

Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
incline your ears to the words of my mouth!
I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings from of old,
things that we have heard and known,
that our fathers have told us.
We will not hide them from their children,
but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
and the wonders which he has wrought.

Psalm 78:1-4 (RSV)

Alternative translations of “dark sayings” (chidah) include “mysteries,” “riddles,” “enigmas,” and “puzzling events.” With Messianic hope, the Psalm ends with David shepherding his people Israel “with a pure heart” (Psalm 78:72). 

Through Christ, the hopes and dreams of the Psalmist came to fruition among his people Israel. For hidden from the foundation of the world, God predestined his only-begotten Son to inherit the throne of his father David. “And he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:33, RSV).

Fearless Proclamation

In Matthew, the maxim about revealing hidden mysteries appears in the context of preparing for persecution.

“Therefore do not be afraid of them. Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known.”

Matthew 10:26

The New American Bible (Revised Edition) offers this interpretation, which harmonizes with the maxim in Mark and Luke:

“The concealed and secret coming of the kingdom is to be proclaimed by them, and no fear must be allowed to deter them from that proclamation.”

NABRE footnote to Matthew 10:26

Mysteries of Light

Seen in context, the “mysteries” and “secrets” of the kingdom lie in the heart of God since the foundation of the world. Through his apostles and prophets, the light of Christ radiates on housetops and mountains (Matthew 5:14, 10:27).

Anyone who has ears to hear ought to hear.
The mysteries of Light shine through the seer.

2 Replies to “Mysteries of Light”

  1. Light the lamp,
    Hold the Word,
    Radiant love spreads out.
    Shine as you walk about.
    Reveal God’s mystery,
    Announce Christ boldly.
    You are the rays of Son,
    No shadow dark,
    No fearful cloud,
    On housetops,
    On mountains,
    Proclaim to everyone.

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