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Saturday, 15 February 2014

Reflection/Homily: Fifth (5th) Sunday in Ordinary Time of the Year A (9 February 2014)

Reflection/Homily: Fifth (5th) Sunday in Ordinary Time of the Year A (9 February 2014)
Theme: Becoming the Light of the World

In the Gospel reading (Mt. 5:13-16) which comes immediately after delivering the beatitudes, Jesus clarifies the mission and identity of those called to the kingdom of God. They are called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Salt is a basic necessity of life. Among its numerous functions, it is used as a seasoning to give flavour to food, used as a preservative and also used to purify an object.  As the salt of the earth, Jesus calls us to give flavour to our tasteless world, to preserve the good we find in the world and to purify the world. We can give flavour to our tasteless world when we work for the good of humanity. Most people seem to find little or no reason for existence. Life for them is bitter and meaningless and when we help them make their lives meaningful, we have given flavour to the world. It could be an attitude of care given to the sick, an act of hospitality shown to a stranger, an encouragement given to the lukewarm, etc. In an age where morality and virtue are forgone alternatives to relativism and vice, we are expected to preserve in the world the culture of morality, honesty, justice, love, peace and harmony. As agents of purification, we are also called to purify the world from the stain of sin by working for the conversion of sinners. 

In a special way, Jesus does not just invite us to be a light in the world but to be the light of the world. This light is our collective image and its function is to illumine the world in which we live. We find this light first and foremost in the Church. Since its foundation, the Church has been the light of the world dispelling the darkness of the earth and illumining the path of salvation for men to see. The Church is the light that guides men in their journey towards perfection. It is a symbol of Christ’s presence in the world and it is also the conscience of the society. The Church has the obligation of keeping this light shining in her magisterial teachings, sacred traditions and regular practices. Do we really allow ourselves to be guided by this light? As individual members of the Church, we also carry this light along with us wherever we go. Our troubled world has been enveloped by the darkness of sin and only the light of Christ can conquer this darkness. As the light of the world, our obligation is to rekindle in the world the light of virtue; of true justice, of peace, of tolerance and of love. This light is to shine in our lives for people to see. 

The first reading (Isaiah 58:7-10) suggests practical ways we can let this light shine in and through us. We can share our bread with the hungry, shelter the homeless, clothe the naked and do other forms of good works. It is only then that our light will shine out like the dawn. We are supposed to be the light to those enveloped in the veil of ignorance. We are supposed to be the light that lightens others because a candle loses nothing by lighting another candle. That Jesus identifies us as the light of the world designates a divine choice. We have been specifically chosen to represent Christ in the world and in representing Christ, we have to be in constant relationship with him. Christ is the source of our power, the inexhaustible oil that gives us the energy to shine. He invites us to remain with him for cut off from him we can do nothing. In fact, he is the true light that shines in and through us. In the strict sense, we are only radiations of his light. The moon illumines the night but it is only a radiation of the sun. 

Therefore beloved friends, as we begin a new week, let us ask God for the grace to become true salts of the earth and lights of the world. Let us allow this light to shine through our good works. Our hospitality to people should portray the light of God in us. Light remains light no matter how small it is. It has the power to eradicate darkness. St. Paul in the second reading (1 Cor 2:1-5) revealed how weak he thought he was when he brought the Good News to the Corinthians, but he was marveled how the Spirit of God took control. In the little encounter you have with people, let your light shine and you will be surprised at the marvelous deeds the Lord will do in and through you. Happy Sunday. God loves you.

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