Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year A)

Isa 58:7-10; Psalm 112:4-5, 6-7, 8a and 9 (R.v.4a); 1Cor 2:1-5; Matt 5:13-16

Two Sundays ago, the prophet Isaiah prophesied the rise of a great king whose light would enlighten the darkness of mens lives and make them radiate with joy. The Gospel of Matthew presented Jesus as the fulfilment of that prophecy (cf. Matt 4:12-23).

Providentially, few days ago, we celebrated the Feast of the Presentation of the Lord and in the Gospel reading (Luke 2:22-40), the righteous Simeon prophesied that Jesus would be light for the gentiles.

Today, Jesus is calling us, in the Gospel, into a share in that ministry of being a light to the gentiles. Interestingly, this Gospel reading falls within the collection of the formative lectures that Jesus was giving his disciples, which is otherwise known as the Sermon on the Mount. Hence, the instruction to be light in the world is an invitation to live and be like Jesus in the world.

In John 8:12 he said, I am the light of the world; anyone who follows me will not be walking in darkness but have the light of life. His light was a source of joy and succour to all who received it (cf. Matt 4:16). In the same way, the Prophet Isaiah tells us in the First Reading (Isa 58:7-10) that the best way to make our light burn brightly is by bringing succour to those in every kind of need. It is by doing that that we could be identified with and by God (see Isa 58:9).

Notice also that those who made up Jesus audience at the time of this teaching were mainly common people fishermen, the poor, illiterates and less privileged people. Hardly would anybody expect anything meaningful from them. Yet, they were the very ones whom Jesus tells to make their light shine out. This tells us that nobody is useless in the sight of God. No matter what your condition might be, you are valuable before God and definitely have something to offer.

This call to be light is a call to discipleship and a duty that we MUST fulfil. Yet we cannot do this alone. We cannot afford to be light without the source of light. That is what St. Paul was essential saying in the Second Reading. He was able to see that in his weakness, it was God who empowered him. Hence, our light must not direct people towards ourselves. Rather it has to show people the way to God. It is only in that way that we can be true disciples of Jesus.

We cannot be indifferent to that call. We must enter into the darkness of the world and enlighten it. It would not be enough to stay away from the world in a bid to avoid contamination. The best way to shine out in darkness is by directly confronting the darkness. Remember that nobody is really irrelevant.

Even if you cannot light a street-light, you can at least begin by lighting a candle in a dark room. Who knows, that candle may attract another person to put an electric bulb and then, a florescence and so on. Begin today to make a difference and let your light shine.

Have a Blessed and beautiful Sunday. It is well with you.

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