5th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Feb. 9, 2014)

Christ the Begger statue, King's College

This week’s Readings

Over the past several years, there have been many occasions when I’ve wondered whether our civil and Church leaders were reading the same Scripture I do. Not that my understanding of the Word is normative … that’s arrogant … but I did have serious doubts. Now along comes Pope Francis and a tremendous feeling of relief: “No, I wasn’t off base. Pope Francis sees what I see.” His papacy has been spent trying to remind us of the core values of Christianity.

Now if only the leaders of our country could get on the same page. They tirelessly proclaim their Christian values, but too often those values begin and end with human sexuality and its consequences. Money runs a close second, particularly how it is spent. Sadly, when it comes to the budget, some could point to the words of Jesus as a justification: “Whoever has will be given more, and they will have abundance. Whoever does not have, even what they have will be taken from them.” (Matthew 13:12)

In Sunday’s Gospel, Jesus says that His followers are a light to the world and salt of the earth. Our religion is not to be a private affair. Light is meant to be seen; salt is meant to be used.

How to be seen? How to be used? Isaiah tells us how in the passage just before our First Reading begins: We must loosen the bonds of injustice, undo the thongs of the yoke and let the oppressed go free (Isaiah 58:6). This is Christianity? This is religion? But it is so political, you say! But Isaiah is not finished: “share your bread with the hungry … bring the homeless poor into your house … clothe the naked.” (Isaiah 58:7).

Many polls show the majority of Americans feel the country is heading in the wrong direction. Usually the reason is “my needs and wants are not being met.” If the focus were shifted to the common good, then the rest of the First Reading will be fulfilled: “Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say, ‘Here I am’… Then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday.”

Care deeply, as Jesus cares for you!

herb yost reflections

Fr. Herb, C.S.C.

More Related Articles