Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Also Read: Mass Readings for 05 February 2023 Mass Reading Reflection for 05 February 2023
Gospel: Matthew 5: 13-16
“Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket,” said Jesus. No sensible man shall light a lamp and put it under a bushel basket; much less God the Father. As a Christian, you are meant to shine and shine for many. You are meant to shine wherever you are. You may be in a household with a few family members, but you are meant to shine the light of Jesus there. You may be part of a multinational company; you are meant to reflect Jesus there. You are meant to radiate Jesus among your friends, colleagues, family, and even among the strangers you encounter every day.
Today’s gospel is part of the famous sermon on the mount and a continuation of the beatitudes we read last Sunday. The setting of the sermon on the mount is worth reflecting on. We read, “When Jesus saw the crowds, he went up the mountain; and after he sat down, his disciples came to him. Then he began to speak,” (Mt 5:1-2a). The crowd was the spark to give the sermon, but the sermon was given to a handful of disciples. A handful of disciples, consisting of his apostles and a few others who followed Jesus closely, were the audience. Jesus was telling the small group of people that they were the salt and they were the lamps lit on the lamp stand.
We live in a world where many call themselves Christians and a few cares to live a Christian life. We are concerned about the many who ignore the call to live according to the commandments. We often get upset with our friends and family members who would not accompany us to the church. Express your disappointment in a gentle manner, never costing a valuable relationship. Because we are meant to salt them.
Salt has three uses as per the Old Testament; to flavor, to preserve the food, and to be part of the incense that burned on the sacred altar (Ex 30:34-35, “the incense… salted, pure, and holy”). The faithful have to be salt having all three properties. We are meant to be the flavor of the world; we are meant to preserve the world and we are meant to be a part of the sacred offering on the altar.
While Jesus was telling the handful of disciples, “You are the salt of the earth”, He was pointing to the crowds below the mount. The very Jesus is telling the handful of us in the church, ‘you have to add flavor to the multitudes outside the church. It is your faith, your perseverance, your love, and your faithfulness that is going to preserve the world.
A handful of just can save a whole city. In the book of Genesis, we see Abraham interceding for Sodom before God. God promised to preserve Sodom if he could find at least 10 just people there (Gen 18:25-33). Let us be thankful for the handful of just people, on account of whom God has spared our families, our parishes, our towns, our nations, and our world. Although we may not know many of them, we owe them our lives. Today Jesus is asking us to emulate them.
Yes, we can! Our prayers, our fasting and penance, our acts of mercy, and our just lives can flavor and preserve the world. They make the sacrifice we offer on the altar pleasing to God. Jesus is looking forward to us salting the world. He is eager to put us on the lampstand of his choice. Be bold and say amen to his invitation to be the salt and lamp for the world. The world may or may not appreciate you. But Jesus appreciates you.