February 9, 2014
5th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Is 58:7-10 / Ps 112: 4-5, 6-7, 8-9 (4a) / 1 Cor 2:1-5 / Mt 5:13-16
First Reading: Is 58:7-10
Fast by sharing your food with the hungry, bring to your house the homeless, clothe the man you see naked and do not turn away from your own kin. Then will your light break forth as the dawn and your healing come in a flash. Your righteousness will be your vanguard, the Glory of Yahweh your rearguard. Then you will call and Yahweh will answer, you will cry and he will say, I am here. If you remove from your midst the yoke, the clenched fist and the wicked word, if you share your food with the hungry and give relief to the oppressed, then your light will rise in the dark, your night will be like noon.
Second Reading: 1 Cor 2:1-5
When I came to reveal to you the mystery of God's plan I did not count on eloquence or on a show of learning. I was determined not to know anything among you but Jesus, the Messiah, and a crucified Messiah. I myself came weak, fearful and trembling; my words and preaching were not brilliant or clever to win listeners. It was, rather, a demonstration of spirit and power, so that your faith might be a matter of God's power, not of human wisdom.
Gospel: Mt 5:13-16
You are the salt of the earth. But if salt has lost its taste, how can it be made salty again? It has become useless. It can only be thrown away and people will trample on it. You are the light of the world. A city built on a mountain cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and covers it; instead it is put on a lampstand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine before others, so that they may see the good you do and praise your Father in Heaven.
Our gospel reading for today is part of the famous Sermon on the Mount, a very important instruction for anyone who desires to be a follower of Christ. It has been reported that Gandhi once said that if Christians would really live the sermon of Christ on the mount, more people would accept the challenge of that sermon and follow Christ. Gandhi's words speak to us of credibility.
Jesus uses salt and light as symbols to explain what he wants to tell us. We are familiar with both. We use salt, as Jesus uses the symbol of salt here, to add flavor to what otherwise would be tasteless. And here the Lord is telling us, you and me, that we can be like salt to add flavor and taste to our world. We know that there are some who call themselves Christians but who are Christians in name only. The salt of real faith has gone out of their lives; their faith is flat and does not add to our world the flavor that it should add. It may be a faith that is without fruit, a faith with no good deeds to show that it is alive, a faith without any real contribution to the welfare of our sisters and brothers who need to be helped, a faith with no actions that help the neighbors around us. Such a faith is really like salt that has lost its flavor and is useless for our world. By using the symbol of salt, Jesus is telling us that our faith should have an impact on our world. That doesn't mean that we have to be broadcasting our faith by words. But it does mean that our world should be "salted" by the lives we live. If we really live what we claim to believe, by our very lives, we will be salt for our earth, much more than by any words we say. If we don't show by how we live that we really do believe, then our salt has gone flat and is useless. Our faith needs the salt of credibility!
Jesus also compares real faith to light. Our faith hopefully will be like light that is shining brightly giving light to all around us. Yes, our faith should be alive so that the light of our faith will not be dull. Explicitly, Jesus tells us that this light, the light of a living faith, is a light that is made up of good works. Of course there is danger that we might perform good works to build up our reputation and be praised. But notice what Jesus says: "Your light must shine before men so that they may see the goodness in your acts and give praise to your heavenly Father." So-called good works that are performed for selfish reasons to make ourselves look great are not the good works that will give praise to the heavenly Father. As is true of all our works of faith, the more we can be "other oriented" and be men and women for others, the brighter will be the light that shines from our faith. Our faith needs the light of credibility.
With God's help given to us by the Spirit, the salt of our lives can be refreshed. It does not have to go flat and become useless. In so many ways, we can keep the salt of our faith from going flat by prayer, retreats, study, faith-sharing in groups - to give some examples. We can also keep the light of our faith burning brightly. Fresh salt and bright light can help to make our preaching of the faith credible.
We pray ...
... for a deep and profound respect for life, especially for the unborn.
... for all the prayer intentions in the MTQ Dailyprayer Diary.
... for families who are in need of healing
* Bromeo Ang, Lourdes Tang, Rose Lee, Dion Yu, Zeny Balatbat
... for the repose of Doc Gil Chua
... for world peace and reconciliation.
Finally, we pray for one another, for those who have asked our prayers and for those who need our prayers the most.
Have a good day!
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