Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (February 5, 2017)

St. Paul reminds us that our faith rests on the Cross of Christ and the convincing power of the Spirit, not on the wise argumentation of the world that so often leads to conflict and division. The crucified Jesus is the powerful manifestation of God’s love that unifies.

In the Gospel, Jesus calls us to be what we are because of the power of the Spirit. You and I are “the salt of the earth.” We flavor the world with the presence of God’s loving concern. Jesus encourages us to look at the flavoring we are at present. If we are not flavoring the world around us with the presence of God’s loving concern by the way we live each day, then we must be careful. Then we are good for nothing except to be thrown out and trampled.

You and I are “the light of the world.” We are a “city set on a hill,” “a lamp set on a stand to give light to all in the house.” Everyone sees us. Are we light in the darkness? The power of the Spirit working in us and through us is meant to touch others’ lives with God’s loving concern and mercy.

The theme of “light” appears again and again during this time before Lent. As Jesus manifested the light of God’s great concern for the poor of this world, you and I are to be continuing manifestations of that care and concern.

When we are aware of God’s presence in our own lives, then we are capable of illuminating the lives of others. When we do this is a way that makes it clear that we are reflecting the “true” light, then those around us will recognize the “light” we manifest and give thanks to the Father for it.

Francis de Sales must have had this in mind when he wrote: “Let us be what we are, and let us be it well, to do honor to the Master whose work we are.”

May today’s Word be good news once again and may we rededicate ourselves to being flavorful “salt” and transparent “light” for our little corners of the world.

Rev. Michael S. Murray, OSFS, is the Executive Director of the De Sales Spirituality Center.