Homily for the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A
YOU ARE THE SALT OF THE EARTH AND THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
- In today’s 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A Gospel Christ tells us that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
Jesus said to his disciples: “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” (Mt 5: 13-16)
- During the days when refrigeration to conserve food was still inexistent, salt was used to preserve food from corruption; it also brings out its flavour and makes it more pleasant; and it disappears into the food.
- Our Lord Jesus Christ exhorts us Christians to do the same among the people around us: with our prayers, good example and active apostolate, we are exercising a wonderful apostolate which is a duty for all the baptized. As such, we conserve the world from corruption and make known to other the divine meaning of all realities in which we must seek, find and love Our Lord.
- Our light as Christians would then illumine the darkness which pervades a society which tries to live as if God never existed.
- Nevertheless, we cannot give savor, enlighten the world and preserve it from corruption, unless we are united by faith and the grace of God to Christ. In the Alleluia of today’s Mass, we read Jesus’ words:
“I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
the man who follows me will have the light of life.”
- We must employ all the means which Our Lord gave us to grow in our union and love with Him. These means are prayer, sacraments and interior struggle to live the virtues.
- Of particular importance is our participation in the Eucharist where we receive not only grace but the Author of grace himself, Our Lord Jesus Christ, really, truly and substantially present in the Holy Eucharist. This is what we pray after Communion in today’s Mass:
“O God, who have willed that we be partakers in the one bread and the one chalice, grant us, we pray, so to live that, made one in Christ, we may joyfully bear fruit for the salvation of the world. Through Christ our Lord (Prayer after Communion).”
- And from there, our union with Christ will necessarily lead to practicing the works of mercy, for the thermometer of our love for God is our love for our neighbor manifested in deeds, as we read in the 1st reading.
Share your bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless; clothe the naked when you see them, and do not turn your back on your own…if you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted; then light shall rise for you in the darkness, and the gloom shall become for you like midday. (1st reading, Is 58:7–10).
Dear brethren in Christ, as salt of the world, “let us not lose our taste”, overcoming any sympton of lukewarmness and wordliness. Through our correspondence to God’s call to holiness, let us strive to “be a light in darkness (Responsorial Psalm),” through our prayers, sacramental life, interior struggle to live the virtues, good example and active apostolate through friendship.
The 2nd Vatican Council document reminds us the importance of apostolate
carried out by the laity:
“Laymen have countless opportunities for exercising the apostolate of evangelization and sanctification. The very witness of a Christian life, and good works done in a supernatural spirit, are effective in drawing men to the faith and to God; and that is what the Lord has said: ‘Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven” (Apostolicam actuositatem, 6).
Let us then be salt of the earth and light of the world in the place where God has placed us making use of the means to unite ourselves more with God and bring the Good News of His Love and Mercy to those around us.
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