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Caution: Putting a Sunday homily on the Website is tricky business. All the viewer has is a written text. A homily, on the other hand, is "an oral event". It may not have been said or heard the way it was written. In addition, a roughly ten-minute homily is part of a roughly one-hour worship event in which God and God's people communicate with each other by means of ritual, symbol, song, proclamation, prayer. Not everything in these homilies is original. As a homilist, I rely on and at times borrow from other homilists and writers who are not properly mentioned in this format. I am often indebted to them.

Father William Marrevee, s.c.j.

5th Sunday Ordinary Time A

“You are the salt of the earth”
“You are the light of the world.”
Jesus says that of us as his disciples/followers, of us as his Church.
          Salt does not exist for itself, but to make food tasty;
          Light does not exist for itself, but to let things be seen.
Contrary to our sense of modesty? We don’t like to be too noticeable.

In the scheme of Jesus there is no such a thing as a religion that is purely personal and private. As church we can never become an introverted society that shields itself from the world. An aspect of our faith that we need to be reminded of today. Many today are satisfied with a so-called spiritual search… That is fine, but it is not enough for disciples of Jesus. Discipleship has an inevitable social, public dimension.

Our being salt of the earth, our being light of the world is not to make us look good, not to gain brownie points for ourselves.
Rather, it has a twofold purpose:

  • so that our society, our world may benefit from it, may be served by it;
  • so that God may be glorified through our conduct.

With what sort of conduct, with what sort of actions can we as disciples of Jesus serve our world and glorify God? Remember last Sunday’s Gospel reading on the Beatitudes? These Beatitudes give us a profile of the true disciple whose life and behaviour, rooted in Christ Jesus, will benefit the world around us and will give glory to God. If that is too vague, how about the first reading of today; it is quite concrete; also very appropriate as a prelude for Lent that we begin on Wednesday.

Fasting is one of the traditional practices of Lent… and look what sort of fasting pleases and glorifies God?
        “Is this not the fast that I choose:
          to loose the bonds of injustice,
          to undo the thongs of the yoke,
          to let the oppressed go free,
          and to break every yoke?
          Is it not to share your bread with the hungry,
          and bring the homeless poor into your house;
          when you see the naked, to cover them,
          and not hide yourself from you own kin?
          …. If you remove the yoke from among you,
                the pointing of the finger, the speaking of evil,
                if you offer your food to the hungry
                and satisfy the needs of the hungry….
It is the sort of fasting that benefits others.

God’s giving generously, God’s practicing justice, God’s caring for the poor is thereby made concrete and real. It is the concrete behaviour of our lives which makes Gods’s face visible in our world. That is the way we are salt of the earth and light of the world.

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