Homily February 9, 2014 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Today’s readings are actually related in theme and are meant to come after the Sermon on the mount or the Beatitudes which would have been read last Sunday if the Feast of the Presentation had not taken replaced it. The second reading is interesting as over the centuries so many have argued about faith and reason and belief. Paul here tells us faith comes from the power of God and basically a gift and concludes that preaching Christ in life and crucifixion is what his task is about. In the gospel, Jesus talks of salt, a house on a mountain and light. These three metaphors are what he uses to describe the role of his followers. We today know how important salt is to taste and flavor of food, but in biblical times it was a preservative and also an aid in producing fuel for its ovens and when no longer useful it provided filler for muddy roads. From our driving experience, I think we all are aware how a lighted structure on a hill or mountain stands out, or even a bit further the pictures of cities lit up at night from space. Finally, we all know what a lamp does and how lost we would be without it.
So, Jesus says we are the salt of the earth. It means we are a spice, a flavor, as you might a witness. We are not meant to take over but to show the way, to season the society by living the words and power Of God. Those word were the word of the beatitudes spoken to the multitude. Words meant not just for me but for all. Words which look to care for all. It highlight Isaiah today to feed the hungry, to give shelter to give clothing, or just to look out for our own, for we are all one in the Lord. We must remember such witness and action is that. Remember salt is the seasoning and not the main course. Just like that we are the means that God shines forth for that is the purpose of our saltiness
As a light in a house or a light on a mountain, our purpose is the same to facilitate the ability to see. Our light, our faith is a glory to be seen. It is a power which transcends us and reaches out to others. It is the power of God working through us and summons others to the faith. We can never forget that it is not our work, but the power of God. What we do and share gives witness and enhances his work on the earth encompassing more people along the way. It is interesting that the early Christians, while believing felt a certain futility because of the lack of numbers. Yet over the centuries we have come to learn, at least in some ways, that God’s ways are not ours. Our measurement is oftentimes self-serving and not in full knowledge of God’s will.
Today’s message then is clear that we are called to look out for each other. The hungry, homeless, the oppressed, the sick. What help and service, what witness is what comes back to us. The biggest example of this giving and service was Christ himself. Nothing stood in the way he gave himself over as a man to the power of God. While we know that as frail as a person that we are and how far short we all fall from him, we are through God’s power given the means to try and in his plan to succeed.