Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
February 5, 2017 – Year A
Readings: Is 58:7-10 / Ps 112 / 1 Cor 2:1-5 / Mt 5:13-16
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
The Sunday School Times once published a story about a motorist who, one dark night, was run down by a train at the grade crossing. The old signalman in charge of the crossing had to appear in court. After a severe cross examination, he was still unshaken. He said that he had waved his lantern frantically, but all to no avail.
The following day, the superintendent of the line called the signalman into his office and told him: “You did wonderfully well yesterday, Tom. I was afraid at first that you might waver.” “No, sir,” replied Tom, “but I was afraid that old lawyer was going to ask me whether or not my lantern was lit.”
In today’s gospel, Jesus did not just say that we should have our lanterns, candles, or torches lit at all times, but He said: “You are the light of the world. You are the salt of the earth.”
To make it easier for us, our Holy Mother Church gave us the first reading today, which is taken from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, so we could have an idea of what Our Lord is trying to tell us. As God’s words in Isaiah Chapter 58 put it: “Thus says the Lord: Share your bread with the hungry. Shelter the oppressed and the homeless. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn.”
Maybe you have relatives or friends who only remember you when they have problems or are in trouble. I am not saying that this is a good thing, but there is a silver lining in this cloud of seemingly sad reality. It means that they consider you as their light when they are in darkness.
Someone said that if you sometimes doubt whether your light matters, it might help to answer questions like: Can you name the five wealthiest people in the world? Can you name the last five Heisman Trophy winners? And how about the names of the last five winners of the Miss America pageant? My guess is, most of you are pretty much like me. You don’t know the answers to those questions either.
But how about answering the following: Can you remember the name of your friend who visited you the last time you were in the hospital? What was the name of your first-grade teacher? And who is the first friend you would call in an emergency? I am pretty sure you know the answers to these three questions, because they are the people who added flavor to your life. They gave you strength when you were weak, and they were the light to your path when you felt lost.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, as we continue to celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, let us ask the Lord Jesus, whose Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity we will receive in Holy Communion, to give us enough grace and strength that we may take every opportunity to do something good for others and consider it a great privilege to be the light of the world and salt of the earth.