Greetings on this the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: IS 58:7-10; PS 112:4-5, 6-7, 8-9; 1 COR 2:1-5; MT 5:13-16
Early this morning I took my early walk. It was a peaceful early morning hours before the Sun rises. Yet the Moon shone in the sky. Full, bright, and given the atmospheric conditions especially warm and close. As you know the Moon has no light of its own rather it brilliantly reflects the light of the Sun. So well, I could have read by its light. The Moon beaconed me to draw closer to the one true light. It is not the light but a reflection of it in nature. The Moon as no soul but nonetheless has the power to beacon.
As I write this homily the Sun is beginning to rise. The Sun cannot be seen directly, at least very successfully with the naked eye. The brightness of the Sun is so intense that we cannot gaze upon it. We get better glimpses of the Sun at sunrise and sunset. We get another glimpse when clouds pass before it and during a solar eclipse. We miss the Sun and want it back during the storms that seem to block every good thing about it.
When we think of the celestial Sun we cannot look at it but can see the fruits of it in creation. To say it another way, I know the Sun in the flowers of the Earth and the fruits of the vine. The Sun unapproachable is known by its effects.
Light of the World
You are the Light of the World says Jesus in today’s Gospel account. Jesus uses this simile to help us understand or vector into the divine life as expressed in the Beatitudes. Jesus is describing what it means to participate in being Sun/Son. Your light is a part of you and is also the divine spark within you. There is no separation for you. As the Sun in the sky is not the object of our ordinary vision it is the actions and effects of its light that bring sight (recognition of true essence) and praise of God (who is the power of light) through you.
Said another way, more than merely Moon that simply reflects and we do reflect too the glory of God. More than that, we are united and ablaze as a spark within the divine fire and yet the seeing is not of/for us but of the work for seeing God. Our good works help people see God.
The second Essential of this gospel reading is being Light that people do not gaze at us but glory at the works of God. When we read the first reading (Isaiah) how could that not be clearer?
Salt of the Earth
Salt is good. I think like so many others I am a ‘saltaholic’. Can’t get enough of it although my blood pressure requests otherwise!
Salt is an essential mineral and highly valued in ancient times and today as well even if no longer so expensive. Salt makes food taste great.
We use salt in everything including topical antiseptics.
Salt however can be impure in three different ways:
- Material contamination (mixed with sand and dirt).
- Interior contamination (inside the crystals there are some impurities mixed in).
- Substantial contamination (here the salt has become reactive to other chemical agents making it completely unusable – diluted would be the word to use).
The first essential of this gospel reading is being Salt for the Earth. The salvific message is essential salts. It is delivered through people. We must always be the saltiness of the divine life. Jesus prescribes a way to restore saltiness by being trampled underfoot, that is, (1) to sift out the mixture, (2) release the interior contaminants by fracturing the crystal and (3) sweeping away the diluted solution to return the saltiness of the person.
Being salt is that important.
The second reading today gives us an approach. Paul proclaims the mystery of salvation not with sublimity of words or of wisdom but in weakness and fear and much trembling (humbly). The Church herself, through us, brings out a demonstration of Spirit and power that reveals God and his glory.
Salt – necessary and always needing refinement with humble hearts that will reveal God through the Sacraments.
Light – the burning love of God through the effects and actions (works) that do not force us to look at a light that is too bright to see but a light that is warm and inviting, the Divine light.
Come to the banquet table. Feast with the Divine. Be restores Salt and become the work of the Divine.
Peace be with you,