Homily for the Fifth Sunday of the Year (A) (5th February, 2017) on the Gospel

Is 58:7-10;
Ps 111:4-9 (R. v.4)
1Cor 2:1-5;
Matt 5:13-16.

Can you remember any day you were in a place without any form of light or the day you experienced power failure as we do often in this part of the world? Or can you stay in a dark place or blindfold yourself for some time. If you have experienced any of these, you may say with the author of the book of Ecclesiastes: “Light is sweet” (Eccl 11:7).
Topic: Be the Light you are.
Jesus tells us in today’s gospel: “You are the light of the world ….” This call is not a new one but a reminder of what we are from the beginning. According to the first account of creation, light was the first thing God created, cf. Gen 1:3. The account goes further to say that “God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness” (Gen 1:4). That is to say, from the creation light and darkness do not coexist. Again in the second account of creation, God first created man out of dust but man remained nothing but dust until God breathed life into his nostrils which made him a living thing, cf. Gen 2:7. Life according to the scripture is light, cf. Jn 1:4. That is to say that what God breathed into man was light because God is light, cf. 1Jn 1:5. Hence Jesus reminds us today that we are the light of the world as long as we are alive because it is light that keeps us alive as we have noted.
Light according to Psalm 119:105, 130 is synonymous with God’s word and that is what Jesus, the Word of God, brought into the world to bring us out of darkness into His marvellous light, cf.  Jn 8:12; 12:46; 1Pt 2:9. In the gospel according to John we read:
...this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. But he who does what is true comes to the light, that it may be clearly seen that his deeds have been wrought in God (Jn 3:19-21).
Today’s gospel goes further:
No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lamp stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
It is easy for one to say that he or she is a light of the world. The letter of St Paul tells us that “the fruit of light is found in all that is good and right and true” (Eph 5:9). So, do you do what is good and right and true? The First Letter of Saint John reads, “He who says he is in the light and hates his brother is in the darkness still” (1Jn 2:9).
We see good things through light, cf. Ps 4:6. For the Psalmist, it is only those who are led by God’s light and truth that will reach His holy mountain and to his dwelling, cf. Ps 43:3. And God has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light, cf. Col 1:12.
God who is light has set our iniquities before him and our secret sins are in the light of his countenance, cf. Ps 90:8. So we must be very careful lest the light in us be darkness, cf. Lk 11:35. It is important to note that “even the darkness is not dark to thee [God], the night is bright as the day; for darkness is as light with thee” (Ps 139:12). As those who have been delivered from darkness we ought to walk as children of light, cf. Eph 5:8. God wants us to rise from our sins and receive light from Christ, cf. Eph 5:14.
It is not enough to say that one is the light of the world. Every light ought to shine as light should. Otherwise, such a person in the words of Aristotle can be best described as a light just in name. It is important to check whether people give glory to God when they see us act or regret ever meeting us. We ought to walk in the light of the Lord because He is the true light, cf. Is 2:5.
Bible Readings: Is 42:1-9; Ps 27; Rom 2:17-3:8; Eph 5:3-20; 1Cor 6:14-7:1.
Thought for today: Do you exist as light or as darkness?
Let us pray: God, may we always shine before others so that they may give glory to you. And be our everlasting light and glory – Amen (cf. Is 60:19-20).

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