Liturgy of the Sunday

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Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time

First Reading

Isaiah 58,7-10

Is it not sharing your food with the hungry, and sheltering the homeless poor; if you see someone lacking clothes, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own kin? Then your light will blaze out like the dawn and your wound be quickly healed over. Saving justice will go ahead of you and Yahweh's glory come behind you. Then you will cry for help and Yahweh will answer; you will call and he will say, 'I am here.' If you do away with the yoke, the clenched fist and malicious words, if you deprive yourself for the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted, your light will rise in the darkness, and your darkest hour will be like noon.


Psalm 111


Blessed is the man who fears the Lord.

Happy the man who fears the Lord,
who takes delight in all his commands.

His sons will be powerful on earth;
the children of the upright are blessed.

Riches and wealth are in his house;
his justice stands firm for ever.

He is a light in the darkness for the upright :
he is generous, merciful and just.

The good man takes pity and lends,
he conducts his affairs with honour.

The just man will never waver :
he will be remembered for ever.

He has no fear of evil news;
with a firm heart he trusts in the Lord.

With a steadfast heart he will not fear;
he will see the downfall of his foes.

Open-handed, he gives to the poor;
his justice stands firm for ever.
His head will be raised in glory.

The wicked man sees and is angry,
grinds his teeth and fades away;
the desire of the wicked leads to doom.

Second Reading

1 Corinthians 2,1-5

Now when I came to you, brothers, I did not come with any brilliance of oratory or wise argument to announce to you the mystery of God. I was resolved that the only knowledge I would have while I was with you was knowledge of Jesus, and of him as the crucified Christ. I came among you in weakness, in fear and great trembling and what I spoke and proclaimed was not meant to convince by philosophical argument, but to demonstrate the convincing power of the Spirit, so that your faith should depend not on human wisdom but on the power of God.

Reading of the Gospel

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 5,13-16

'You are salt for the earth. But if salt loses its taste, what can make it salty again? It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out to be trampled under people's feet. 'You are light for the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in people's sight, so that, seeing your good works, they may give praise to your Father in heaven.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Yesterday I was buried with Christ,
today I rise with you who are risen.
With you I was crucified;
remember me, Lord, in your kingdom.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia


Immediately after the Sermon of the Beatitudes, Jesus turns to the disciples and tells them that they are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. We are still at the beginning of Jesus' evangelical preaching and the disciples certainly cannot boast of exemplary conduct, as of "men of the beatitudes." It is therefore no wonder that these words appear excessive, exaggerated, both to them and to us. But Jesus insists: "If salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored?" This is something of a request for responsibility, a bold call from Jesus, as if to say: I have nothing but you for the proclamation of the Gospel. Or, put another way: if you fall short, if your behaviour is bland and tasteless, I have no other outlet for the Gospel. It is what happens if the light is put under a bushel. Again, there is no solution: you stay in the dark.
This was not only true then, so it is today. The function of being the salt of the earth and the light of the world must never be disregarded. In front of these words, each of us knows well that we are poor persons. We really are little compared to the task we are assigned and the beatitudes we heard last Sunday. How is it possible to be salt and light? The Gospel of Matthew insists that we, poor men and women, are salt and light. We are not such by ourselves, but only by participating in the true salt and the true light that is Jesus of Nazareth. Light does not come from our personal gifts, from a good temperament, or even from our virtues. The Apostle Paul, in his letter to the Christians of Corinth, recalls that he did not present himself among them with sublime words: "I came to you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling." Yet, despite his weakness, he defended the honesty of his ministry: "I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified." The weakness of the Apostle does not obscure the light of the proclamation, nor does it diminish the strength of preaching and testimony. On the contrary, it is a pillar of it and Paul gives it reason: "So that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God."
There is a deep sense of liberation in these words. We Christians, unlike what happens routinely among men, are not condemned to hide the weakness and misery that is kneaded into us before God. These do not attack the power of God, they do not challenge it, thy do not erase it, if anything they exalt it if we accept it. There is no contempt for man on the part of the Gospel, and there is no dislike on the part of the Lord, who is rightly called "the friend of men and women." Paul adds: "Those who boast, boast in the Lord." Our pride is never in ourselves. God's grace, his love, shines in our weakness; we cannot appropriate it, it always surpasses us and does not abandon us. The Gospel adds: "Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven." It is the Lord's invitation to us to become Gospel's workers. And the prophet explains what this consists of: "Share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor in to your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin." It is the light, the charity of the Lord, a large charity that broadens the walls of the heart. It is directed, above all, towards the poor and the weak, and, at the same time, does not forget those close to us. Only "then," the prophet adds, "your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday."