Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Fr. Adam Royal
February 9, 2020 – 11:00AM
Jesus does not say to us, “No one puts a flashlight under a bushel basket.” Which would mean that no one is so foolish as to turn on a light and then completely cover it up. He says, “No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a bushel basket.” A lamp in the time of Jesus was an open flame. It wasn’t even protected by glass; it merely sat atop a clay base. So the reason no one would place it under a basket is that it would set the basket on fire! It would absolutely consume it, and nothing would remain. It is the same with the Word of God. The Word of God is not a dead letter; it is not ink on a page. It is the living, breathing, active presence of God, of Jesus Christ, in our hearts, and in the world. Though we may try to obscure the Word, we may, in our weakness, shy away from public proclamation of our faith, the Word of God will not be silenced. It will not long remain under a bushel basket. But it will consume us. It will take root and transform us, transform us into a people like Christ, if we open our hearts to it in the first place. If we can, but for a moment, close out the cacophony of our hectic lives and truly receive the Word, allow it to enter within us and set our hearts aflame.
Then, we can become, as Jesus says, the salt of the world. Salt does not merely provide flavor. In the time of Christ, it was first and foremost a preservative. It was what kept food fresh and staved off decay. And, in a sense, this is now the task of Christians. To be the world’s salt. To be a force to hold the world together and stave off its decay. The world needs God. It requires us to be true Christians, to show it the way of mercy, because the world is not heading in the right direction. Every day we flip on the news, we hear about new violence, a growing divide between the rich and the poor, and some entire species going extinct or nearly so. Despite our many advancements in technology, medicine, and every other field, the world is sick, it is decaying. And neither our technology nor our politicians can save us. God alone can save us. Jesus Christ alive and active within the Church, within Christians, can save this world.
Through the grace of Christ burning within us, we can be salt of this world. We can heal the wounds of sin and division. We can end the cycles of violence and environmental destruction. We can be one body, one people, united together in Jesus Christ. Heaven is not a distant world only to be enjoyed after death. It is the very goal of the Christian life because it is this world, this life, recreated in Christ. It is a reality meant to be experienced now, through our actions, through our lives and choices, we are to make God’s kingdom present and known to all people. Jesus says we are the light of the world; therefore, we must let that light shine before all peoples so that they might see our good works and then glorify our heavenly Father.