Homily Fifth Sunday of the Year A

By 11:24 AM

To be a Christian is to be a public person. Many people are public or in the public eye but their Christianity is hidden. Some people feel that one’s faith is a private matter. But that’s not what Jesus is saying in today’s readings. Just as a light is to be seen and not hidden, so one’s faith in and commitment to Jesus must be obvious and clear. Our faith–light is not just for oneself, it is to illumine the darkness, to bring the truth of the Gospel to those in darkness. The same is true with salt. It is to make a difference. If it doesn’t then it is to be thrown away.

The reason why the world is in the shape it is in is because we, Christians, have failed to be light and salt. We have failed to allow the faith-life and commitment to Jesus to be uppermost in our life. We are not to flaunt our faith in Jesus like one blinds another with a bright spotlight. Rather, we are to show forth the truth of Gospel love and life in our life.

In other words, is our faith primary or secondary?

Salt gives flavor to food which could otherwise be bland. The Christian disciple is to give meaning to a life which could be cold and empty, meaningless and seen as drudgery. How? First of all, Jesus must be real for me and his teachings are truly the foundation of my life. Secondly, I am called to so live my faith openly that I can encourage others to experience the same power of the Gospel. By bringing the truth and life of the Gospel into my daily world, I enhance the life of the world. Instead of hate and revenge, non-forgiveness and selfishness, I am to bring the power of love. Will I be laughed at or ignored? Possibly. But the bitterness and emptiness of a life outside of God needs the power of faith and love.

The problem is that sometimes we are not convinced that it would make a difference. There is a story about a preacher who went about in a town proclaiming, "Repent. Repent." At first, some people listened to him. After awhile, only a little boy followed him. Then one day the boy asked the preacher why he continued to preach the same message when no one was listening. The man said: "Son, if I stop preaching, I will not hear the message." We may never know the difference our fidelity to being a public disciple of Jesus Christ will make.

Salt is salt all the time, not sometimes. Light is light all the time or darkness ensues.

Another problem is fear to be tested by others or to find out that my faith is really weak. We have to recall what Chesterton once said: "It is not that Christianity has failed, it is just not tested." I wonder if we were tested for our faith would we falter or persevere? People throughout the 2000 years of Christianity have been tested, some failed, many suffered death.

Sometime ago a family suffered the death of a child, who had an incurable disease since birth. In fact, they have three children and two have this affliction. It is a slow, deteriorating disease. They saw the daughter struggle for life, going into seizures and coming out. Throughout this human ordeal, their faith in the resurrection, their faith in Jesus sustained them. In turn they became an inspiration to many others.

They didn’t do anything extraordinary. They just practiced openly and lived publically what they believed. They let their light shine and became a point of flavoring for others.

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