Wednesday, February 1, 2017

February 5, 2017- You Are the Light of the World

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time - Year A     

Reading 1:  Is 58:7-10
Psalm: 112
Reading II:  1 Cor 2:1-8
Gospel:   Mt 5:13-16

These are challenging times in which we live. Sometimes, they seem like dark times. However, no matter how dark things can become, if we trust that God is with us, no darkness can extinguish the light of hope in us.

In Viktor Frankl’s book, Man’s Search
for Meaning
, he asserts that hope
is the key to survival, even in a concentration camp.
 If  we have hope in the Lord’s love and presence with us, we can endure pain or hardship. We can survive.

However, in today’s readings, Jesus gives us additional helps for all times, especially when things are difficult.  He tells us that we are “salt” and “light.” Salt exists to season other things, and light enables others to see. If we focus on reaching out to others, we at the same time are helping ourselves. If we choose not to better the situation of others, we are in danger of turning in on ourselves and falling into darkness.

I once met a woman who had just been through a divorce. Her mother-in-law suggested that she volunteer in a hospital to help her deal with her loss. She not only would be helping others, but she would be seeing things more in perspective.

How many times we see outreach to others when a serious tragedy has occurred. Just think of the activities of MADD, “Mothers against Drunk Driving.” Consider all the foundations that work on finding cures for diseases. Last night, I heard on the TV of a woman whose innocent, young son was shot to death. She chose, instead of being bitter, to offer her son’s organs to help
other people.

My own mother, unknowingly helped me to deal with her death. She told me, if I ever felt sorry for myself, to help someone else in need. Since I am an only child and was very close to my mother, her untimely death was very difficult for me. However, her words came to mind when I was struggling with her loss.

In many ways, my mother prepared me for life and her death, both by her example and by her words. When she died,  I wanted to pass on what she had given me. Therefore, I joined the Big Sister Association of Boston. The relationship with my “little sister,” who became like an adopted niece, enabled me to find new life, as well as provide some fun experiences for the child.

God our Father, like a good parent, prepares us for the eventualities of life. Let us recall his love and presence. Let us remember that we are “salt” and “light” for our world. Finally, let us face the future with hope, born of faith!

Spanish Translation of Reflection Above...

Eres la luz del mundo 

Estos son tiempos difíciles en los que vivimos. A veces, parecen tiempos oscuros. Sin embargo, no importa cómo las cosas oscuras pueden llegar a ser, si confiamos que dios está con nosotros, ninguna oscuridad puede extinguir la luz de la esperanza en nosotros.

En el libro de Viktor Frankl, Man’s Search for Meaning, afirma que la esperanza es la clave de la supervivencia, incluso en un campo de concentración. Si tenemos esperanza en el amor y la presencia del Señor con nosotros, podemos soportar el dolor o las dificultades. Podemos sobrevivir.

Sin embargo, en las lecturas de hoy, Jesús nos da ayuda adicional para todos los tiempos, especialmente cuando las cosas son difíciles. Él nos dice que somos “sal” y “luz”. La sal existe para sazonar otras cosas, y la luz permite que otros vean. Si nos concentramos en llegar a otros, al mismo tiempo nos estamos ayudando a nosotros mismos. Si decidimos no mejorar la situación de los demás, estamos en peligro de volvernos sobre nosotros mismos y caer en la oscuridad.

Una vez conocí a una mujer que acababa de divorciarse. Su suegra le sugirió que se ofreciera como voluntaria en un hospital para ayudarla a lidiar con su pérdida. Ella no sólo estaría ayudando a los demás, sino que estaría viendo las cosas más en perspectiva.

Cuántas veces vemos el acercamiento a otros cuando una tragedia seria ha ocurrido. Basta con pensar en las actividades de MADD, “Madres contra la Conducción Ebria”. Considere todas las bases que trabajan en la búsqueda de curas para las enfermedades. Anoche, oí en la televisión a una mujer cuyo inocente y joven hijo fue asesinado a tiros. Ella eligió, en lugar de ser amarga, para ofrecer los órganos de su hijo para ayudar a otras personas.

Mi madre, sin saberlo, me ayudó a lidiar con su muerte. Ella me dijo, si alguna vez sentí pena por mí mismo, para ayudar a alguien más en necesidad. Desde que soy un niño único y estaba muy cerca de mi madre, su muerte prematura fue muy difícil para mí. Sin embargo, sus palabras vinieron a la mente cuando estaba luchando con su pérdida.

En muchos sentidos, mi madre me preparó para la vida y su muerte, tanto por su ejemplo como por sus palabras. Cuando murió, quería transmitir lo que me había dado. Por lo tanto, me uní a la Big Sister Association de Boston. La relación con mi “hermana pequeña”, que se convirtió en una sobrina adoptada, me permitió encontrar nueva vida, así como proporcionar algunas experiencias divertidas para el niño.

Dios nuestro Padre, como un buen padre, nos prepara para las eventualidades de la vida. Recordemos su amor y presencia. Recordemos que somos “sal” y “luz” para nuestro mundo. ¡Finalmente, enfrentemos el futuro con esperanza, nacido de la fe!


  1. I absolutely love this Gospel. It is the basis of a very popular song, “You are the Light,” from the 1971 musical play, Godspell. As soon as I perused this week’s readings, I rummaged through my record albums (yes, you heard right – we’re talking 33 1/3 rpms) and found my Godspell album. I must have played it 25 times since pulling it out of storage a couple of days ago. The lyrics fill me with such joy that I find myself singing the gospel all day long. Jesus’ teachings, put to music, have the power to brighten the darkest of souls:
    You are the light of the world
    But if that light is under a bushel
    Brr, it’s lost something kind of crucial
    You’ve got to stay bright to be the light of the world
    Jesus is the light of the world. As followers of Jesus we are en-lightened by His Word, illuminated by His Body and Blood, and promised the Light of Eternal Life. In turn, we are called to be a beacon of His Light in a world darkened by sin.
    You are the salt of the earth
    But if that salt has lost it’s flavor
    It ain’t got much in its favor
    You can’t have that fault and be the salt of the earth!
    As Mary prepared meals for Jesus and Joseph she likely used salt to season, tenderize, and perhaps preserve their food. Jesus “seasoned” his disciples with parables and experiences that enabled them to enhance the lives of those their ministries would touch. Jesus tenderized their hearts by demonstrating the Father’s unconditional love and mercy toward sinners, and He modeled perseverance so they could withstand the challenges of living in a spiritually depleted world. We, too, are called to flavor each day with generous sprinkles of Christ-like light and love.
    We are the Light of the World and the Salt of the Earth … created to be unique, to rock, to shine!! So, why are so many of us walking around depressed, confused and questioning our worth? Who or what snuffed out our flame?
    Sin robs us of our joy. Darkness creates fear. Society designs false values by which we measure ourselves. We’ve got to live right to be the light of the world! Jesus tells us that “whoever follows me will have the light of life.” Prayer, the Sacraments, and works of mercy are fundamental to helping us nurture an intimate relationship with Jesus. Perhaps we can take a little time this week to think about how we can reflect the light of Christ to others in a way that their sadness and brokenness can be alleviated and transformed into joy and wholeness.
    Our goal is to be that city on the mountain top whose lamp gives light to the entire community. We can attain this vision together, one life-affirming deed at a time.

  2. Yes. Definitely. "It is better to give than to receive." Acts 20:35

    The following quotations are from a commentary on Psalm 112 (the responsorial for this Sunday) by Pope Benedict XVI:

    "Psalm 112 has resounded in its simplicity and beauty, which serves as an introduction to the small collection of psalms that goes from 112 to 117, conventionally called "the Egyptian Hallel." It is the alleluia, that is, the song of praise, which exalts the liberation from Pharaoh's slavery and the joy of Israel in serving the Lord in freedom in the Promised Land. (cf. Psalm 112)"

    "The psalm leads us to the divine mystery. The second part (cf.4-6) in fact, celebrates the Lord's transcendence, described with vertical images that go beyond the simple human horizon. It proclaims the Lord "High above all nations", "enthroned on high", and no one can be his equal; he must even look "down" upon the heavens, because "his glory" is "above the heavens!" (4). The divine gaze looks upon the whole of reality, on earthly and heavenly beings. Yet his look is not haughty and detached, as that of a cold emperor. The Lord -- says the Psalmist -- looks "down". (6)"

    "Thus God bends over the needy and the suffering to console them.
    And this expression finds its ultimate meaning, its greatest realism, at the moment that God bends down to the point of becoming incarnate, to become like one of us, like one of the poor of the world. He confers the greatest honor on the poor, he "sits them with princes", yes, "with the princes of the people" (8). To the lonely barren woman, humiliated by ancient society as if she were a dry and useless branch, God gives the honor and great joy of having several children (cf.9). Therefore, the psalmist praises a god who is very different from us in his greatness, but at the same time very close to his suffering creatures."