On the Sunday Mass before Halloween, the priest at the Yongsan Memorial Chapel (I forgot his name), gave a homily that related the pumpkin to Christian life. I know that story has been around for a while, but it was my first time to hear it. I searched the Internet and found a fairly good version, made especially for children (Sermons4Kids Website). The Scriptural reference is 1 Corinthians 6:11 and Matthew 5:16.
As I am sure all of you know, Halloween is coming soon. Many of you will dress up in costumes and go trick-or-treating. If you do, remember to be safe. You should only go to the homes of people you know very well. You know — close friends and family. Never go trick-or-treating to homes of people that you do not know.
I brought a Jack o’ Lantern with me this morning. How many of you have ever made a Jack o’ Lantern? If you have, you know that the first thing you do when making a Jack o’ Lantern is to clean up your pumpkin by washing off the dirt and mud. Then you cut a hole in the top of the pumpkin and clean out the inside. You scoop out all the seeds and yucky stuff.
The next thing you do is to carve a face. You cut out the eyes, nose, and mouth. I don’t know about you, but I always like to put a smile on my Jack o’ Lantern.
The next step is to put a candle inside the Jack o’ Lantern. Then you light the candle so that the light will shine through the eyes, nose, and mouth.
Finally, when all is finished, you place the Jack o’ Lantern in the window so that all who pass by your house will see its light.
You know, I was thinking. This is a pretty good picture of what happens when we invite Jesus into our heart.
When we become a Christian, Jesus picks us up and cleanses our life from sin. He removes all the yucky thoughts and the seeds of doubt, hate, and selfishness that we have inside. Then he puts a smile on our face and puts his light inside to shine for all the world to see.
I don’t know what you think of when you see a Jack o’ Lantern, but I hope that this Halloween you will think of Jesus. Think about how he came to take away the sins of the world and put his light in our hearts to shine for him.
Dear Jesus, help us to let our light shine so that others will see our good works and glorify our Father in Heaven.
That is the most horrifying analogy I have ever heard. Not by intent, to be sure. It is a clumsy analogy, but it is hard to take it as intended when the imagery of carving a pumpkin, once combined with the idea of the process of becoming a Christian, becomes malignantly suggestive, clawing for attention in the mind’s eye.
“When you invite Jesus into your heart, he scoops out your insides, carves a smile on your face, and fills you up with his light!” … The only response I can muster is a Night Valeian response: “Our God is not a Smiling God.”
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