HOME Homily Archives - Year A Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
Homily. Readings: Isaiah 58,7-10; Psalm 112; 1 Corinthians 2,1-5; Matthew 5,13-16.


Green Stole and Gospel
Readings: Isaiah 58,7-10; Psalm 112; 1 Corinthians 2,1-5; Matthew 5,13-16

There is an emphasis in today’s Readings on making the Christian faith shine in our lives. In St. Matthew’s Gospel we are called to be salt and light for others, for the world. Our lives, what we do and the way we do things, should be a source of light and meaning for others. Our actions should be a visible sign for others of God’s presence in the world. Both the later writings of Isaiah and Psalm 112 underscore what makes our worship of God authentic and acceptable: our generosity and our concern for the poor, the homeless and the hungry. St. Paul’s theme is slightly different; for him Christianity is not merely a doctrine or theory on life, but the person of Jesus Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit in people’s lives. Therefore there is a connection between the power of God and our good works.


The person of Jesus Christ: It has been said many times that Christianity is centered on a personal encounter with Jesus Christ. This was true in a visible way for the apostles and for the first disciples, and it is also true for us in a spiritual way. We are able to experience personal contact with Jesus Christ. It is this personal experience that changes our lives; this is the only way we can live Christian lives. Catechism references: paragraphs 422 -451refers to the heart of catechesis as the recognition of Jesus Christ as Son of God and as Lord.

The acceptable sacrifice: Judaism and Christianity stand out for their regard for justice towards others, especially the poor and needy. It is not only in prayer and worship, but also through service to others that we fulfill our religious duties. It is only by serving others that we will be heard, and answered, by God. Catechism references: paragraphs 2443-2449 refer to the love of the poor and the works of mercy.

Salt and light: Christian faith means being instruments of the conversion of others, so that others may “give praise to your Father in heaven.” (v.16) We must recognize our responsibility for others and the Providence that links our lives to their salvation. Catechism references: paragraphs 863-865 deal with the apostolic mission of the Church.

A personal experience of Jesus Christ: It is easy to reduce our Christian faith to a platform of issues or a merely external social identity; some perhaps see and judge Christians in that way. We need to return to the fundamental, personal experience of Jesus Christ, to be able to say that we know Jesus as our Lord and our God. That is the core of Christianity. How does one get there? By making time for Jesus in prayer; by being prepared to see one’s life and one’s problems in the light of Christian truth; by wanting to leave what I know are false paths; by seeking the advice of a spiritual guide. Today. “The kingdom of God is not a concept, a doctrine or a program subject to free interpretation, but it is before all else a person with the name of Jesus Christ.” (Redemptoris Missio, n.18)

Witnesses: Christians necessarily are witnesses to Christ. Our faith is not only an inner experience of the person of Jesus Christ, but it is part of our faith to live Christianity in a public way. Many today regard religion as divisive and better left to the forum of private expression. It is true that religious belief can become distorted and made to serve ideological ends. This has happened in history and happens today. It is also true that the implicit or explicit denial of the freedom of religious expression endangers life and society. The vacuum is filled by other absolutes. “When recognizable religion is excluded, the vacuum will be filled by ersatz religion, by religion bootlegged into the public space under other names.” (Richard J. Neuhaus) As Christians we must show that true religious belief builds society and favors communion.

A Christian way of living: One result of a personal encounter with Jesus Christ is rethinking all we do in our lives; our lives take on a greater meaning. This requires thinking through all we say and do to reflect in our lives what we believe in our hearts. A Christian style of life reflects poverty, the loving dedication of our lives to others, the attentive openness to God’s Wisdom and Providence; it should be reflect this in the fundamental decisions of our lives and also our daily living. This requires a careful examination of how we are living, our fundamental motivations and interests. We need to reject inconsiderateness and thoughtlessness, as well as the enforced mundane standards and values of society. We need to “put on Christ” in the way we dress, whether and what we watch on television, adequate time for prayer, the way we speak, giving religious meaning to our meals, our rest and our work. We need to live a Christian identity.

Serving the suffering: It is particularly necessary for the Christian to be actively concerned for others, especially those who suffer. A Christian is called to respond with an effective love to others’ sufferings. Is Christian charity one of the main concerns of our life? As Christians we are called to make the temporal and eternal welfare of others our purpose in life. This means reevaluating our activities so that, amidst of our necessary everyday concerns, we serve others in an effective way. It means discovering an ulterior purpose in our work and our ambitions so that we make our mundane activities serve a higher purpose. It may mean a complete, though perhaps gradual, change of outlook and of activity.