Daily Reflection – Feb 5, 2017
Sunday 5 February 2017
First Reading: Isaiah 58:7-10
A light rises in the darkness for the upright
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
Gospel Reading: Matthew 5:13-16
Today’s Note: Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus said to his disciples:
“You are the salt of the earth.
But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned?
It is no longer good for anything
but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
You are the light of the world.
A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.
Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket;
it is set on a lampstand,
where it gives light to all in the house.
Just so, your light must shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds
and glorify your heavenly Father.”
Your light must shine before others. (Matthew 5:16)
Mahatma Gandhi once told a Christian friend, “I like your Christ, but I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” In a similar vein, the German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once said that if he saw more redeemed people he might be more inclined to believe in their Redeemer.
What a sobering reflection of the witness of the Church in their day! Neither Gandhi nor Nietzsche saw enough believers’ lights shining to convince them that the gospel message really does have the power to change people’s lives.
That’s the challenge of today’s Gospel reading: to show the joy, the love, and the peace of Jesus to people like Gandhi and Nietzsche. It’s the challenge for each of us to live like “our Christ” and to show the world just how distinctive and fulfilling a redeemed life can be. In a very real way, our credibility—as well as the credibility of Jesus’ message—is on the line every single day. And a credibility gap hinders our ability to help other people come to embrace Jesus in their hearts.
Here’s a true story: Jim, a devout Catholic, moved into a home next door to a wealthy Muslim family. They enjoyed a friendly and cordial relationship. Over the course of the next year, the Muslim family’s business imploded, and they had to declare bankruptcy. They lost everything. They were living in the house, waiting to be evicted, with little food or money. What’s worse, all of their friends had abandoned them.
But Jim and his wife acted differently. They emptied their refrigerator and pantry and gave as much as they could to their struggling neighbors. They also loaned them money. They continued doing this for nearly a year, until things turned around, and the family gradually dug their way out of bankruptcy.
As moving as this story is, here is the best part: the family became Christians—all because of the love of Jim and his wife.
“Lord, help me to shine your light everywhere I go.”