Newsletter- 5th Week of Ordinary Time
Today on the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time we hear as our Gospel Reading a passage from St Matthew’s Gospel which follows upon Jesus’ teaching of the Beatitudes, which we heard in our Gospel Reading last Sunday at Mass.
Jesus uses in today’s Gospel the now familiar metaphors of salt and light to describe the life of Christian discipleship. Very often I suspect if you are like me and many others in our modern society, we tend to take salt and light for granted, but these commodities were much more precious in ancient cultures. Just as now, salt was used in Jesus’ time for flavouring, as a preservative, and as a healing agent, but it was an expensive luxury commodity. Similarly, the widespread use of electricity in the modern world makes us less aware of the value and importance of warmth and light in our lives. Although with our increasing worries about the escalating costs of electricity and fuel prices to our family budgets each of us I suspect have in recent months become much more aware of their value to us and to our lives, and as increasingly each household is faced with “turning off lights” and reducing the amount of heat in our homes and workplaces in an effort to reduce our escalating bills each month, and as we hear too of the possibility of being faced with national power outages, light and warmth has again become a precious commodity to us all.
Still, though our familiarity with this passage from Matthew’s Gospel speaks well to the abiding power of the imagery that Jesus presented. Jesus’ call to be salt for the earth and light for the world powerfully states our mission as Church and as Christians living in this modern age. It is appropriate too that the Church in England and Wales keeps this Sunday 5th February as a Day of Special prayer for Racial Justice. This year the theme for Racial Justice Sunday is: “All are included in the mission of Christ and His Church. Let us walk together, pray together and work together” This reflects the role each of us must play in promoting the mission of Christ and of His Church and was inspired by conversations around last year’s Racial Justice Sunday and Pope Francis’ visit to Canada in July 2022, when he spoke about looking towards a future of ‘Justice, healing, and reconciliation. Our commitment as Christians and as a Church to racial justice flows into and from our commitment as Christian men and women to social justice, the tenants of which lie at the heart of the exhortation that Jesus gives us in today’s Gospel.
Some of the activities that this commitment leads us to as well are given more concrete expression in the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy. When we feed the hungry, clothe the naked, console those who mourn, when we seek justice, healing, and reconciliation and so on and so forth, so we show ourselves to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. When we do these things with the community of faith, the Church, we are indeed acting as “a city set on a mountain” that cannot be hidden!
With prayer and best wishes for you and your families during the week ahead,
Your parish priest and friend,
2023 5th February– Newsletter – Download