Twenty three years ago this week I arrived in Washington D.C. to attend a weekend Labor Conference.  As I stepped up to the hotel’s front desk and gave my name, a beaming smile came across the receptionist’s face. She practically shouted “Oh, I love giving these types of messages!” She then proceeded to read a message left for me: “My name is Kathleen Eleanor and I arrived at 9:45 AM weighing 7 pounds 3 ounces”.  My niece and goddaughter had been born! I can still recall vividly the joy with which that receptionist shared, and with which I received, that exciting news. I then proceeded to enthusiastically share my news with everyone I met that day. The joy I felt seemed to demand it.

As I read the Gospel passage for today this story came to mind. We Christians are recipients of the Good News, and there has not been more joyful news ever given to the human family. Do we witness to that Gospel with joy, or do we downplay it in order to not offend, or alienate, or seem foolish? The warning in today’s Gospel seems to foreshadow our fate if we forget to light our lamp. The joy we have will multiply to the extent that we share the reason for our joy and likewise our joy will diminish and eventually become extinguished if we choose not to share it.

How can I witness today to the joy that is ours as Christians, the joy that comes from being a child of God?

—Judy Henry McMullan earned a Master of Divinity degree from the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry (formerly Weston Jesuit School of Theology). She currently teaches Theology at Archbishop Williams High School in Braintree, MA