5th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A - 5th February, 2017

In today’s gospel, Jesus uses two vivid and familiar images to bring home to us, his followers, what it means to be a Christian.

He tells us that unless people can see our faith reflected in our lives, influencing the way we think and live, it is a sham.

Note Jesus does not tell us to become the light of the world; he tells us that we are the light of the world. In short, Jesus is affirming our worth and asking us generously to share of our gift with others.

The prophet Isaiah speaks plainly about what is expected of us “Share your bread. . shelter the oppressed and homeless… clothe the naked.. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn”. The purpose of light is not to draw attention to itself - rather it is to allow people to see things that would other-wise be hidden in the darkness. In a similar way, the purpose of salt is two-fold, to bring out the flavours in the food and to preserve it.

So it is with us… like light, we should allow the Light of God to shine through us so that they can see the light of truth. Like salt we are to bring out the goodness - or preserve the goodness that we find in the world.

We may be tempted to hide the light - especially when it might get us noticed - or where people would not understand. That is a risk of disciple-ship - but, Jesus says, that by allowing our light to shine, other people will see clearly and give praise to our Father in heaven.

Christianity is not just for personal peace of mind or self-comfort. Jesus tells us today how important we are in God’s plan for all the world, especially to those who most need God’s caring love.

Only by remaining focused on Christ and being obedient to Him can we expect to remain salt and light in the world.

Fr Kevin O'Shea, C.M.