for Sunday, February 5, 2017
The message of Jesus to us is so simple and clear: when we encounter someone in trouble, we must help that person! This is still the same message as always: love God and love your neighbor. There is no other way to eternal life.
The first reading today is from the Prophet Isaiah. The message can speak directly to our hearts: if we listen to the cries for help of other people, then God Himself will hear our cries when we call out to Him. This message of the prophets is echoed throughout all of Scripture and is repeated over and over again. It needs to be repeated because we humans seem always to go in another direction and look first for our own pleasure, our own needs and our own good. This is a result of sin, for sure, but even after Baptism and Confession, we still tend in this direction. Because of this, if we want to follow God, then we must begin a spiritual struggle to do His will and not our own.
The second reading today is from the First Letter to the Corinthians. Saint Paul is very clear that we don't need sublimity of words or of wisdom. What we need is Jesus Christ and to accept the sufferings that accompany being faithful to the Lord. We all know how easy it is to speak good things and how difficult it is to do good things. This is the challenge for us who say that we follow Jesus: putting our words and our faith into action!
Today's Gospel passage from Saint Matthew speaks to us and tells us that we must be the salt of the earth and a light for the world. This presence in the world is so very different from the presence of great people who receive attention and adulation of others. Instead, the salt that we are and the light that we shine are also only from Jesus Himself. When we reflect the glory of God, the strength is incredible! When we show forth our own strength, it is as nothing. At some level, we all know that, but we are still tempted to put ourselves first rather than God.
My sisters and brothers, all of us fail. We all sin and are prone to sin. On the other hand, we know the power of God in our lives and we must choose each day to walk with the Lord and to let the Lord be our strength and our light. Our world will be transformed and will reflect the words of Isaiah: If you remove from your midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech; if you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted; then light shall rise for you in the darkness, and the gloom shall become for you like midday.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Isaiah 58.6-10++
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 2.1-5
Gospel: Matthew 5.13-16
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: