HOMILY FOR THE 5TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR A.
THEME: SALT, LIGHT AND ELEVATED CITY.
BY: Fr. Johnbosco Obika
1st: Is. 58:7-10
2nd: ICor.: 2:1-5
3rd: Mtt.: 5:13-16
Today’s gospel is the continuation of the sermon on the mount. In the gospel Jesus uses three metaphors to communicate the deeper meaning and implication of the gospel for us Christians. They are: 1. Salt of the earth. 2. Light of the world 3. City built on hilltop.
Salt is a powerful element that is very renowned as a purifier. In the bible, when the people complained to Elisha about the contaminated water of the well that has caused the land to be unfruitful, the prophet Elisha cast some salt into the water saying, “This is what the LORD says: I have purified this water; from now on it will no longer cause death or infertility” (2Kings 2:19). It is not surprising that Jesus calls us salt of the earth for this reason so that we can purify the earth of its dirtiness. Salt is also a seasoning agent. A food without salt is tasteless and may be considered same and repugnant. We are salt in a tasteless world. And what good is the salt without taste? It is as good as nothing. It will be thrown along the walkway where it can be trampled upon. This tells why many Christians today are being trampled upon because they have lost their taste. Salt also serves as preservative. One of the reasons why Jesus called his disciples salt of the earth is because among them were fishermen who were turned to fishers of men. Normally, every fisherman goes along with salt to preserve the fishes he has caught before they get to the market. So being salt of the earth is very important in preserving the faith of the souls they have won for Christ. We too we are called to preserve the gospel values against decay as Paul did among the Corinthians in the 2nd reading. Today, family values and moral principles derived from the gospel that has guided the world for ages past are under decay. It is our duty to preserve human family from extinction, to safeguard the human life from the miracle of conception to the serenity of natural death; and to preserve the inner joy and image of God in each of each.
Light was the first thing God created. At the very beginning of creation, there was darkness over the earth but God created light and separated it from darkness (Gen. 1:3-5). Light represents goodness, joy and peace while darkness represents evil, sorrow and wickedness. Jesus calls himself the light of the world and those who follow him will not walk in darkness (John 8:12). He is the light that shines in the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it (John 1:5). By virtue of baptism every Christian is empowered to become light of the world through the light of Christ ignited in us. In his light we see light (Psalm 36:9). The duty of every Christian as light becomes more urging now in the world more than ever as the waves of darkness hover around in the fashion of sin, heresy, poverty, hatred, terrorism and corruption.
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During the 1945 eclipse of the sun, there was total black out everywhere one afternoon as narrated by my grandmother. It happened on a market day and the people of my village had never seen such before and so they thought it was the end of the world. Both men and beasts alike cried and were thrown into confusion. Such was a snippet of life without light. Our experience of poor electricity in the country has made us familiar with the metaphor of light. Some villages and cities do not see electric power for long period of time. There is ovation and celebration when there is electric power. Whenever the power goes off, everywhere is thrown into mourning and bitterness. Similarly, when there is an eclipse of faith and spiritual power failure among Christians the world suffers. The world goes into moral confusion and bitterness.
In the first reading of today, God challenges us to let our light break forth like the dawn to those people who in a larger way are experiencing the pangs of darkness: the hungry, the homeless and the needy. The corporal works of mercy we do in them spring up healing and righteousness for us, and surround us with the glory of God like bodyguard; then shall we call and be heard (Isaiah 58:7-10).
*CITY ON A HILL*
My dear friends, we are already at the hilltop. Every Christian is a cynosure of public eyes. If we have been elevated to such a high platform the question left to ask is: what are we showing? Instead of showing atrocities from the hilltop let us show virtues. Let our salt and light be more active today for the glory of God. We are the generation of salt and light.
*HAPPY SUNDAY. *
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