Friday, February 3, 2017

Homily Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo

Homily Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time Year A: Fr. Michael U. Udoekpo
·        Isa 58: 7-10;
·         Ps 112:4—9;
·         1 Cor 2:1-5
·        Matt 5:13-16

Christ's Light Shall Rise For You In Darkness!
The importance of light and precautions against darkness in our daily lives cannot be over emphasized. We use light for cooking, reading, studying, driving, worshiping and brightening up the darkness of our cities, towns, rooms, streets, plazas and environments.  Light is also needed by plants and crops as they experience photosynthesis. The list goes on!! In worship, spirituality, scriptures and sacraments, Christ, God’s incarnate and his values is this “Light” of the world (John 8:12), whom we are invited to worship and imitate exemplarily, in our charity and works of mercy. On the other hand, darkness represents anti-Christ’s values, evils and misfortunes we see, read about, hear of, or experience in today’s world. Yet the light of Christ triumphs over the darkness of this world! 

Today’s Gospel of light is vital for our spiritual growth. This truth spans from one generation to another. The generation of Third Isaiah, the returnees from Persian exile are reminded in the first reading by the prophets Isaiah of the need to reject every form of darkness of false accusation and malicious speeches against fellow community member. What matters or brightens the community spiritually, socially, economically and religiously, the prophet stresses, include the sharing of ones’ bread with the hungry, sheltering the homeless and clothing the naked, as the rebuild and worship at they rebuilt temple.  These corporal works of mercy also makes the just person of today’s Psalm 112 an agent of light in any given form of darkness. How many of us today in this generation are daily prepared to continue to be that just man, that just woman, that upright person, that source of light in the darkness of our present world as we worship and share our bread with our neighbors?
Be it at worship, study, work, administration, in leadership and family care, we are called to be and participate actively in that listening and doing audience of the disciples whom Jesus addresses in today’s Gospel, saying “You are the salt of the earth… you are the light of the world….your light must shine before others that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Matt 5:13-16).

For Paul this shining light comes mysteriously to the quarrelling and boasting Corinthian Community of his generation in form of the mixtures of worship and charity, humility and mercy, spirit and power. To them, St. Paul writes, “When I came to you brothers and sisters, proclaiming the mystery of God. For I resolved to know nothing … except Jesus Christ crucified… I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom... I came to you in weakness and fear and trembling” (1 Cor 2:1-5).
Like the generation who heed to Paul’s Letter, sometimes fear of the Lord, trembling and humility could assist us appreciate the place of charitable acts within and outside our worship contexts. Prayers, fear of the Lord and humility, could assist us appreciate the Gospel of joy of Pope Francis  in promoting economic equality in our villages, towns and community, by challenging  every forms of the darkness, especially the darkness of the exclusion of the poor in the socio-political and economic fabrics of our society.

This is how we ourselves would become the light of the world and the salt of the earth, by not only fasting and worshiping God in his terms­, but by also loosening the bonds of injustice. By undoing the thongs of the yoke. By letting the oppressed go free; by promoting peace not war. Rejecting terrorism and racism; by sharing our bread with the hungry. By bringing the homeless into our homes. By forgiving those who may have offended us. By seeking the common good not ourselves. By holding the door of an elevator for those seniors and for those elderly people. By visiting the sick and home bounds. By clothing the naked and welcoming everyone, no matter their language, looks, color, culture, gender and age. In sum, as the Prophet Isaiah rightly puts it, if we keep doing all these good works, then, the Light of Christ will rise for us, will shine in our communities, families, homes, for our friends and nations in any given threats of darkness!
Reflection Questions:

1.   What are your priorities during worship?

2.   In the light of today’s scripture what would you identify as darkness in your faith communities?

3.   In what ways are you the source of light and salt of the earth to your faith communities?