Sunday, February 5, 2017

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Have Taste & Be Bright!

Today's readings are about giving witness to Christ.  

The first reading reminds us that we have to help others. Giving witness to Christ is not only knowing the teachings of Christ and His Church, but putting them into action via the Works of Mercy and the Beatitudes that we read about last Sunday (James 2:17). Helping others is extremely important. We cannot love our neighbor as we love ourselves if we do not help them. We must share what we have with others (Luke 6:30). This does not mean Communism, but sharing when someone is in dire need. sometimes God even tests us by presenting us a moment to give to others even when we have little to give (Hebrews 13:2). We must assess the situation and listen to God's voice in us in order to know what to do (1 John 4:1).  When we help others, God loves this and listens to our prayers. God will answer, as the reading says!

Recently, we had the March For Life. Critics of the pro-life movement accuse us of only caring about the unborn and then forgetting everyone else. This is not true. We must care for all human life, born and unborn, young and old, sick and healthy etc. Moreover, current events remind us about caring for refugees. The Lord tells us to welcome strangers (Leviticus 19:34). However, we must do so prudently for our own safety and the safety of others. As the saying goes, "better safe than sorry." Nevertheless, we must always help refugees who honestly need help.  The first reading should remind us of this. Helping others is the just thing to do and shines a light in the darkness as the responsorial Psalm tells us. Light always shines through the darkness. In physics, we learn that darkness does not exist.  It is just the absence of photons or light. Metaphorically, the "light" is in us when we are upright or walk in the path of the Lord. It shines before all others.  This light shines in us when we do good, lend to others, do things with justice and fairness. We must strive to be just and do good in the world.

Whenever we can, we should help others by giving to the poor and those in need. In all of this, we must be about the truth and not sublimity of words, as we read in the second reading. Knowledge is good to have, but we should live our lives as if we know nothing but Jesus Christ. In the end, Jesus is all that matters, not how much knowledge we have on anything or anyone else. Einstein, Sagan, Darwin, Lemaitre, etc were all awesome and brilliant scientists. Once they died, where did their knowledge go?  It died with them. Similarly, we will eventually die. Our knowledge, plans, memories will be gone.  We will face our maker (Hebrews 9:27). Our knowledge, degrees etc will not matter to Him, only what we did and how much faith we had. Our faith is important and must not be hidden. We must not become lukewarm (Revelation 3:15-17).  We must evangelize others, even in fear, weakness and trembling and proclaim the Good News with a demonstration of the Holy Spirit and power! Recently, a well known bishop made some comments on a program. This bishop is Robert Barron. He was questioned on whether or not he would press to reverse same-sex marriage in America. The bishop said he would not press to reverse it. This remark shocked many, including myself. I wrote about it here and explained why the bishop was wrong see: His heart was in the right place, but his words and reasoning were a bit off, with all respect of course.

We must never back down from fighting immorality and evil in the world. As the second reading tells us, we must proclaim like St. Paul did, the Gospel "with a demonstration of Spirit and power."  We must evangelize in season and out of season (2 Timothy 4:2).  A few people on Facebook felt that the bishop was right and accused me of "policing." However, they fail to understand that we must fight the good fight, not sit back and let the world go to ruin (1 Timothy 6:12).  If the majority of Americans are for same-sex marriage (supposedly), then we must fight even harder. In the first and second centuries, Rome was against the Church. Did the early Christians sit back and wait until the right time to come out and evangelize? No way! They fought and died for the faith eventually leading to the conversion of Constantine which set the path for the glorious Catholic Church of Christ to take her seat in Rome and build Western civilization.

The Gospel reminds us of how important our witness is. Jesus says that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world.  We must not become bland, for what good is salt if it has no taste?  We must not put our light under a bushel basket. What good is light that is covered?  We must be salt and light. We must give flavor and taste to the world. In this world that is in darkness, we must light the way in the name of Jesus! We light the world with our evangelization and good works which glorify the Father. Salt is an important substance. It is used to sanitize woulds and help in healing the body. Hospitals use saline water to stabilize patients. Without salt, the body cannot have a proper balance of electrolytes. Salt is in our tears and helps purify our eyes. In Scripture, salt was used to purify newborns and the Catholic Church used to use it in the rite of Baptism (Ezekiel 16:4, Baptism & Salt). Salt was also used to delay the decay of meat. We as salt of the earth must delay the decay of morals and spirituality in the world (Colossians 4:5-6).

Light is important to us all. Without it, we would not be able to see anything. Light was the first substance in the universe. When the "Big Bang" happened, photons were the first particles. Our light must shine before others. It must not be kept hidden. We must not hide our faith. Rather, we must show it to others and preach Jesus in season and out of season. We as Catholics hold the fullness of Truth. This Truth is a person named Jesus Christ whose body is the Catholic Church.  If you have ever been in a power outage and turned on a candle or flashlight, you probably noticed how just a bit of light can light up a really dark place. This is because light is powerful. You do not have to be in a cassock, roman collar or habit to show your light. Just living your Catholic faith, using sacramentals or sharing your faith via conversation is enough.  God will do the rest.  Trust me on this!  Sorry to bring in physics, but salt even conducts electricity. When in water, ions form which allow for electrons or electricity to move. This is why is it not good to stand on the beach during a thunderstorm. If lightning strikes the sand which is moist from the sea or rain, the charge will travel and will electrocute anyone standing on the sand. I mention this because we are the salt of the earth and baptized in water. This mix in us brings the"charge" which is the Holy Spirit who spreads among those we encounter. Let us go out there and give flavor to this world and light the way to Christ Jesus.  We are the salt of the earth, let us give the world hypertension in Christ!  May Jesus Christ be praised, now and forever!  


As we read in the readings today, giving is important and is part of good works. Please donate to help me continue and expand this ministry. Your help will be noticed by our Heavenly Father. Donate via my Paypal on this page or  

Here are some reflections from holy writers:

The salt of the earth, I suppose, seems at first like nothing special. So what did Jesus mean when he called the apostles the "salt of the earth"? We must look for the words' appropriate meaning. Both the apostles' task and the nature of salt itself will reveal this. The element of water and the element of fire are combined and united in salt. So ordinary salt, made for the use of the human race, imparts resistance to corruption to the meats on which it is sprinkled. And, of course, it is very apt to add the sensation of hidden flavor.
Likewise the apostles are the preachers of surprising heavenly things and eternity. Like sowers, they sow immortality on all bodies on which their discourse has been sprinkled. They are perfected by the baptism of water and fire. So those who are to be salted with the power of gospel teaching have rightly been called the "salt of the earth." They are right now being preserved to the end.
— St. Hilary
(315 - 367)

Source: "On Matthew 4.10," quoted in Manlio Simonetti, ed., Matthew 1–13, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 92.

The Lord has already called his disciples the "salt of the earth" because they seasoned with divine wisdom the hearts of the human race which had been made tasteless by the devil.
Now he also calls them the "light of the world." For, illumined by his very own self who is the true and eternal light, they too become light within the darkness. For since he himself is the sun of righteousness, he rightly also calls his disciples "light of the world." Through them, as if through shining rays, he poured the light of his knowledge on the entire world. For by showing the light of truth, the Lord's disciples made the darkness of error flee from people's hearts.
— St. Chromatius
(360 - 407)

Source: "Tractate on Mathew, 19.1.1-2," quoted in Manlio Simonetti, ed., Matthew 1–13, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 93.

So, what does the Savior mean by the "bucket" under which some people put the lamp? Here by "bucket" he means vice, and by "lamp," virtue. People who intend to perform some illicit act walk in darkness, avoiding, if possible, the light.

— St. Theodore of Mopsuestia
(350 - 428)

Source: "Fragment 26," quoted in Manlio Simonetti, ed., Matthew 1–13, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2001), 94.

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