A Graduate School of Theology and Ministry

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

February 05, 2023


       Isa 58:7-10 [Acting justly brings light in darkness]

       Ps 112:4-5, 6-7, 8-9 [The just person will be a light in the darkness]

       1 Cor 2:1-5 [Paul preaches Christ crucified]

        Matt 5:13-16 [You are salt of the earth; you are the light of the world]

Possible preaching themes

  • Isaiah speaks to the promise of blessing that comes to those whose behaviors and actions are reflective of selfless living. Acts of justice and mercy become like light in the midst of darkness.
  • Jesus uses the images of salt and light to speak about a life of discipleship. Jesus offers these metaphors to describe how one can live as his disciple—Jesus seeks to make a connection between who a disciple is and what a disciple does. Our life of discipleship becomes actualized as we seek to live out the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.
  • Paul preaches a bold message but does so from a place of lowliness and humility. Humility is not the same as weakness. Paul preaches Christ crucified and invites the hearers of this word into the mystery of how Jesus crucified reveals the power of God.

Possible Scientific resources

  • Humility is an attribute and behavior that can be cultivated https://www.nytimes.com/2019/10/21/health/psychology-humility-pride-behavior.html
    • Studying humility, as part of what has been labeled “positive” psychology, has seen growing interest in recent years (research looking at personality traits)
    • In a study by Dr. Krumrei Mancuso, those scoring high for this trait of humility are less aggressive and less judgmental, even after being challenged on personal (e.g., religious) views

Homily outline on Called to be Light (taking 1st path, above)

  • Light illuminates darkness
    • Think back to the last time you stood in darkness
      • What were you feeling in that space?
      • Fear? Calm? Peace?
    • Darkness has a way of making us feel enveloped in a nothingness that we cannot see
    • In absolute darkness, you cannot even see your hand in front of your face!
    • Light illuminates the darkness
      • Even the faintest flicker of a candle helps us see
      • The brighter the light, the dimmer the darkness
      • An overabundance of light can force us to turn our eyes away
  • Jesus says, “You are the light of the world”
    • Is this just a spiritual aspiration? Or is this something we can actually live?
    • Matt 5:14-16: “…No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket…”
    • Light reflects
      • Jesus says, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12)
      • As followers of Jesus, we are called to reflect his light in the world
      • We become a reflection, an imitation of Jesus
      • Are we open to encountering Jesus, or there still some rough parts about us that might dim the light of Christ?
    • Light absorbs
      • Jesus says, “You are going to have the light just a little while longer” (John 12:35)
      • As followers of Jesus, we are invited to absorb the promise of life that is offered
      • The more time we spend with Jesus, the more our hearts, minds, and spirits are open
      • Fresh encounters with Jesus have the power to shake those parts of ourselves that need to be made new
    • Light scatters
      • Jesus says, “While I am in the world, I am the light of the world” (John 9:5)
      • As Jesus calls believers into the Beloved Community, he entrusts them with a mission to share Good News throughout the world
      • As disciples, we should never want to hold on to the Good News for ourselves
      • Our mission as Church is to share light, life, and love
  • Isaiah says, “Then your light shall break forth like the dawn” (Isa 58:8)
    • Becoming more like Jesus, who is the light of the world, is our way of bringing hope to a hurting world
    • Feeding the hungry, caring for the afflicted, housing the homeless, clothing the naked are acts of mercy and justice
      • Such actions share light
      • Such actions absorb pain and bring about healing
      • Such actions are reflections of Jesus’ own care for the hurting
    • “Then your light shall rise in the darkness, and your gloom shall become like midday” (Isa 58:10)
      • Living as a reflection of the divine, we strive for holiness
      • Absorbing the relentless love of God, we become more fully ourselves
      • In accepting the mission to scatter God’s love, we share light in life’s darkest moments
    • Each of us can reflect, absorb, and scatter light in varying degrees—a single spark can light a fire!

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