5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A – Homily

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
Isaiah 58:7-10
Psalm 112:4-5, 6-7, 8-9 (4a)
1 Corinthians 2:1-5
February 5, 2023

Last week we heard the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount from Matthew’s gospel.  We will continue to hear from Jesus’ Sermon each Sunday until we begin Lent.

Our passage today begins with Jesus saying to his disciples, this includes us, “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.” 

Salt is used for two purposes.  It can be used to preserve food.  That was very important in Jesus’ day when there were no refrigerators.  It made salt valuable.  Salt is also used to season food, to make it taste better.  If salt loses its taste, it loses this purpose. 

As disciples of Christ, we are to do our part to make the world a better place.  In doing so, we are “the salt of the earth.”  We do this by bringing the light of Christ to the world. 

In the Rite of Baptism, after a person is baptized, a candle is light for them from the Paschal Candle.  The flame of the Paschal Candle is the Light of Christ.  The baptismal candle is then presented to the person with the words, “Receive the Light of Christ.”

The Light of Christ is precious in a world with much darkness.  The Light of Christ enables us to see through the darkness to what Christ offers us.

It is not a light to be kept hidden.  We must shine the light brightly to others.  One does not “light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket.”  That would defeat its purpose of giving light.

Receiving the Light of Christ, we must share it with steadfast hearts.  How do we do this?

Isaiah presents ways to do this:

  • Share your bread with the hungry.”
  • “Shelter the oppressed and the homeless”
  • “Clothe the naked”

When one is hungry, life can seem dark.  To give them light, give them food.  When one is homeless, life can seem dark.  Give them a place to stay with light.  When one’s clothing is worn, one’s own self-image can be dark.  In doing so, you bring light to their life.  To give them light, give them clothing.

Do not turn your back” on others for it may put them into darkness.  Rather, help them as you are able.  Your help will be a light for them.  If you cannot help them, don’t ignore them, leaving them in darkness.  Give them light by pointing them to someone who can help.

To be a beacon of light to others, we must remove from our own midst that which is darkness, “oppression, false accusation and malicious speech.”  Then we can see the light. 

When the darkness comes from sin, bring it to Jesus.  Then, Jesus, who is the light of the world, will remove your sin so that you may see the light.

We might feel lacking in our ability to help others.  Sometimes we think it is for someone greater than us to help.  No one of us can help everyone alone and we are not supposed to. 

We just need to let God work through us.

Part of bringing the Light of Christ to others is sharing God’s Word with them.

I suspect many people probably think St. Paul must have been a wonderful preacher.  However, Paul himself says, “I did not come with sublimity of words” and that he did not offer “persuasive words of wisdom.

Instead, Paul came to the Corinthians “in weakness and fear and much trembling.”  He did not seek to speak with eloquent words.  Paul simply sought to share what he knew about Jesus Christ.

To do so, he allowed God to speak through him “with a demonstration of Spirit and power” so that their faith “rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.” 

We need to learn more about God and what his teaches.  However, when you speak to others, speak not first from your mind but from your heart.  Let others see Christ in you, not for your own glory but so that God our Father may be glorified.

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