Homilies & Official Statements
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time(A)
5th February 2016
Jesus said to his disciples: “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”
Some would say that the big problem of T&T is not the anger which breeds violence and crime but a deep desire to be who we are not. The anger and violence are just symptoms of this deeper yearning which will never and can never be fulfilled. The cure for this malaise lies not in the police or army, neither is it in the arming of our citizens with guns and pepper spray but rather in an education system which allows us to value who we are and the gifts and talents given to us by God and the innate value system which we carry within us. Our parents and grandparents lived these values but we have exchanged them for the values of other cultures. Faced with the result of the loss of these values; the values of hospitality and generosity of politeness and respect, the bard, like a gentle prophet of old has sung,
“Bring back the ole time days”
Used to be everyone cared for each other
Lived like brothers, respected one another
In times gone by we used to share
Together we’d make do and if I draw a sou-sou
What was mine was yours too.
I know them days done pass and gone
And I know that life must carry on
But if I must join in with the pack
Then I going back, I going back. Yeah, yeah.
This going back to the values which sustained our forbearers is essential if we are to regain the peace lost by nurturing that deep desire to be who we are not. In the first readying the prophet Isaiah tells us that healing is ours when we return to the ancient value system. “Thus says the LORD: Share your bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless; clothe the naked when you see them, and do not turn your back on your own. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed; your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.”
The Gospel reading tells us who we really are as Disciples of Christ Jesus. We are the
Salt of the Earth and the Light of the World. This is our true identity. It is by living this true identity; it is by a return to the ancient values which make us who we truly are that we bring joy and excitement to life. The prophet Isaiah again tells us; “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.”
This was the type of person that Jesus was. Jesus brought joy and fulfillment to so many persons that it was said of him; “He did all things well”
Today we thank God for people, who like salt never lose their savour, never become tasteless even in the face of tremendous challenges. They are the true followers of Jesus.
The Gospel also tells us what true religion is about. It is about being salt in a world which is no longer exciting for so many. It is about bringing hope to unemployed and underemployed youth so that they can pursue their dreams, it is about organizing forgotten communities, so that they can do for themselves, what successive governments promise and never do. It is about helping the aged to feel useful again. It is about giving people something for which they want to live. When we do this, we make the world a better place. We take away the sin of the world.
We must not be street angels however. We are also called to be salt and light for those closest to us. As a rule, one’s spouse, one’s children, one’s parents must be excited by one’s presence. They must find life worth living because of us. This is an ideal, but it is an ideal for which all of us strive. When we stop striving, like salt which has become tasteless, we are good for nothing except to be thrown out.
As we look at our lives we will discover the two movements. Let us thank God for the persons in our community, who are salt and light, for the Sr. Rosarios, and Father Pantin and others like them who bring joy and encouragement, and who make life worth living for so many. Let us thank God for our own moments of grace, and let us ask pardon for the moments of sin. Let us ask God for the grace to be salt and light always, wherever we may be.
All powerful and ever-loving God, the world needs disciples who are Salt and Light. Give us your children the grace to be at the service of others so that we may help others achieve the happiness which they desire. May it be said of us as it was said of Jesus. They do all things well. They make the sun rise on good and bad alike. We ask this through the intercession of Mary our Mother and Jesus your Son. Amen