Reflection on the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A
Is 58:7-10; 1 Cor 2:1-5; Mt 5:13-16
“You are the salt of the earth.” The salt gives flavor to food and is also a food preservative. Do I give flavor to the life of my brothers and sisters? Or do I make life distasteful, or even bitter for others? Do I make life enjoyable for my parents and siblings by helping out in the house chores: washing the plates, sweeping the floor, arranging furniture, chairs and tables, putting cups and glasses and silverware in proper places? Do I show respect and affection to my parents and elders? Am I helpful to my siblings? In the working place, am I courteous to superiors and other employees? Am I kind to everyone? Am I helpful to those in need? Am I compassionate as my Heavenly Father is compassionate? There are many facets in life where we can be the salt of the earth and make life easier and enjoyable for those around us, as well as keep our family closely knit and our neighborhood a truly Christian community. In the Mosaic Law the salt is sprinkled on two offerings: on the daily cereal offerings and on the bull and ram offering for the holocaust, as though it were a flavoring for the food offered to God. Thus our offering to God must contain a flavoring of good conduct and loving affection for the Lord and our neighbor.
“You are the light of the world.” In the Old Testament, we read many affirmations that the Lord is our light: “You are my lamp, O Lord” (2 Sm 22:29). “The Lord shall be your everlasting light” (Is 60:20). “The Lord is my light and my salvation” (Ps 27:1). “Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light for my path” (Ps 119:105). When the Lord enlightens our life, then we in turn become light for others. Before his Ascension the Lord commanded that we “make disciples of all nations … teaching them to obey his commands” (Mt 28:19-20). We make disciples not by teaching with words, but by teaching with our actions, our witnessing by the way we live. This is what Isaiah 58 tells us in the first reading: “Share your bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless, clothe the naked (v7)… Remove from your midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech” (v9b) “Then your light shall break forth like the dawn (v8)… then your light shall rise for you in the darkness” (v10). The early Christian community in Jerusalem lived like this and many other Jews who saw them admired them and joined them. That is why within a short period of time, the community of believers grew: “Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved” (Acts 2:47). In our days we see many Catholics disobey the commandments of God. Stealing through corruption in government is well known. Enriched with the money of the people, many practice adultery having a second or even a third family. Policemen and other government officials use their position to oppress others and set up their opponents in courts and imprison them. The case of the Korean Mr. Jee is still fresh in our minds, and I categorize this crime as demonic: to kidnap, take the ransom and still kill the victim, even cremate the body and pour down the ashes into the toilet drain is most evil. The bereaved family cannot even give its loved one a decent burial. Think of it as done to yourself, how would you feel? Only a devil can do such a thing to his fellowman. We should ask ourselves: have Filipinos lost their Christian faith? Then there is the homosexuality among us and they are the stars in our media. Are we people who believe in God? Do we honor the commandments of God? Do we accept the Bible as the Word of God? Then why do we disobey God’s word? As I see it, we Filipinos are not yet a Light to the world. There is so much we lack in following Jesus. How can we make disciples of other nations? There is a lot of praying we still have to do. There is a lot of penance and intercession we still have to do as a people. Let us ask the Sacred Heart of Jesus to make our hearts like his. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to renew the Pentecost among us. Let us ask Mama Mary to intercede for our nation, to pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.