Commentary on Luke 8:16-18
The message today seems clear enough. The Gospel message is not meant to be kept hidden.
We are not a ‘mystery religion’ in the sense that the Gospel is only for initiates. It is a message that is to be proclaimed from the housetops. If what we believe and say is true it will prevail. We understand Jesus to be the Light of the world and his followers are also to be like lamps shining out for all the world to see. An invisible Christian is a contradiction in terms, yet there are strong tendencies for us “to keep our religion to ourselves and not foist it on others”.
Forcing others to believe is not on, even if it were possible. Inviting people to “come and see”, to hear the message and have a personal experience of living it is something else. We also believe that the Gospel message offers a way of life that brings great happiness into the lives of individuals and of whole societies if it is really followed. So, part of our communicating the message is as much through our lifestyle (“See! it works!”) as through what we say.
“Take heed, therefore, HOW you hear,” says Jesus today. It has to be a hearing which understands, accepts, assimilates and puts into practice. What is heard and assimilated has to be passed on. Otherwise it dies. But “to the one who has, more will be given”. And “he who has not [because he has not been hearing and absorbing properly] will lose even the little he has”. To be a Christian is not to reach a certain level and stay there; it essentially means constant growth and development. To stay still or to stagnate is to go back.