5th February – 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)

After Mass today I left for Carrickmacross to see my friend Fr Eamon Murray who is home for New York City. After an overnight, I will return on Monday morning.

The following is a gospel reflection from the Youth2000 website.

Salt of the earth and light of the world – (Matthew 5:13-16)

child of lightA little goes a long way. Many of our meals would be insipid without salt. Yet it takes only a little to bring out the flavour.  Salt does a lot of things.  It seasons, it cures, it preserves.

To say that a person is “salt of the earth” is one of the highest compliments we can give them. They bring an extra dimension to life, make a difference, often in an unspectacular way. They are good to meet, people you would rely on if you were in trouble. Could we say that they have the “Salt Factor”? That’s what Jesus wants us to have. In fact, that is what he says we already have, because we are His followers.  He trusts us to make a difference.

In St John’s Gospel, (John 8:12) Our Lord says “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life”.  Then, in the Gospel we are praying about today he says, “You are the light of the world”.  Does that mean He puts us on the same level as Himself?  In a certain way, it does.  We are meant to be ‘other Christs’, His presence in the world.  What a thing to be told!

We are to shine out, to be seen from far away, even (and especially) when surrounded by darkness.  As Jesus says: “Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father”.

Where does “seeing your good deeds” fit in?  Think about love of God and love of neighbour.  St John (1 Jn 4:20) writes: “whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen”.

James drove an ambulance in New York.  He was asked where he found God in his life.  He said he found God in the Church, at Mass, in the Sacraments, at prayer, and all the usual ways.  But there was one way in particular, where he found God in a very special way.  From time to time his crew would be called out to pick up a person found lying on the footpath or in an alleyway. Sometimes this was a homeless person, poorly clothed, dishevelled, unkempt and unwashed. “I make a point of cleaning their faces before bringing them to hospital or wherever, and when I do this, I am wiping the spittle off the face of Christ on the Cross”.

Fr. Kevin O’Rourke S.J.