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5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A
Matthew 5:13-16

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.”
**

Homily by Bishop Robert Barron

Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus uses the images of salt and light to show how we are to bring salvation to the world. In our rather privatized and individualistic culture, we tend naturally to think of religion as something for ourselves designed to make our lives richer or better. Now there is a sense in which that is true, but on the Biblical reading, religiosity is like salt, light, and an elevated city: it is meant not for oneself, but for others.

Perhaps we can bring these two together by saying that we find salvation for ourselves precisely in the measure that we bring God’s life to others. The point is that we followers of Jesus are meant to be salt, which effectively preserves and enhances what is best in the society around us. We effectively undermine what is dysfunctional in the surrounding culture.

We are also light by which people around us come to see what is worth seeing. By the very quality and integrity of our lives, we shed light, illumining what is beautiful and revealing what is ugly. The clear implication is that, without vibrant Christians, the world is a much worse place.

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“Man threw away everything he had—his right to speak freely, his communion with God, his time in Paradise, his unclouded life—and went out naked, like a survivor from a shipwreck. But God received him and immediately clothed him, and taking him by the hand gradually led him to heaven. And yet the shipwreck was quite unforgivable. For this tempest was entirely due, not to the force of the winds, but to the carelessness of the sailor. Yet God did not look at this, but had compassion for such a great disaster. … Why? Because, when no sadness or care or labor or toil or countless waves of desire assaulted our nature, it was overturned and fell. And just as criminals who sail the sea often drill through the ship with a small iron tool, and let the whole sea into the ship from below, so when the devil saw the ship of Adam (by which I mean his soul) filled with many good things, he came and drilled through it with his voice alone, as if it were an iron tool, and stole all his wealth and sank the ship itself. But God made the gain greater than the loss, and brought our nature to the royal throne.”

— St. John Chrysostom,

**

“The supreme act of love in which Jesus died, that which we remember each time we celebrate the Eucharist, actually brings us into an intimacy with him at a most profound level. There is no conceivable way to deepen our friendship, our knowledge and love of Jesus, and his love for us, than through the celebration of the most holy Eucharist.”

-from Meeting God in the Upper Room

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