The Light of the Gospel – 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time
January 29, 2023
Faith Circles 2023 (Year A), Faith Circles
(Gospel of Sunday, 5 February 2023)
Jesus said to his disciples: ‘You are the salt of the earth. But if salt becomes tasteless, what can make it salty again? It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out to be trampled underfoot by men.
‘You are the light of 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 the sight of men, so that, seeing your good works, they may give the praise to your Father in heaven.’
Reflection of Pope Francis
(5 February 2017)
These Sundays the liturgy offers us the so-called Sermon on the Mount, in the Gospel of Matthew. After presenting the Beatitudes Matthew emphasizes Jesus’ words describing his disciples’ mission in the world. He uses the metaphors of salt and light, and his words are directed to the disciples of every age, therefore also to us.
Jesus invites us to be a reflection of his light, by witnessing with good works. He says: “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven”. These words emphasize that we are recognizable as true disciples of the One who is the Light of the World, not in words, but by our works. Indeed, it is above all our behaviour that — good or bad — leaves a mark on others. Therefore, we have a duty and a responsibility towards the gift received: the light of the faith, which is in us through Christ and the action of the Holy Spirit; and we must not withhold it as if it were our property. Instead we are called to make it shine throughout the world, to offer it to others through good works. How much the world needs the light of the Gospel which transforms, heals and guarantees salvation to those who receive it! We must convey this light through our good works.
The light of our faith, in giving of oneself, does not fade but strengthens. However it can weaken if we do not nourish it with love and with charitable works.
In this way the image of light complements that of salt. The Gospel passage, in fact, tells us that, as disciples of Christ, we are also “the salt of the earth”. Salt is an ingredient which, while it gives flavour, keeps food from turning and spoiling — in Jesus’ time there were no refrigerators! Thus, Christians’ mission in society is that of giving “flavour” to life with the faith and the love that Christ has given us, and at the same time, keeping away the contaminating seeds of selfishness, envy, slander, and so on. These seeds degrade the fabric of our communities, which should instead shine as places of welcome, solidarity and reconciliation. To fulfil this mission, it is essential that we first free ourselves from the corruptive degeneration of worldly influences contrary to Christ and to the Gospel; and this purification never ends, it must be done continuously; it must be done every day!
Each one of us is called to be light and salt, in the environment of our daily life, persevering in the task of regenerating the human reality in the spirit of the Gospel and in the perspective of the Kingdom of God. May there always be the helpful protection of Mary Most Holy, first disciple of Jesus and model for believers who live their vocation and mission each day in history. May our Mother help us to let ourselves always be purified and enlightened by the Lord, so as to become, in our turn, “salt of the earth” and “light of the world”.
What stood out to you from the Gospel or Reflection/Homily?
Head: In what ways does “selfishness, envy, [and] slander” degrade our communities “as places of welcome, solidarity and reconciliation”?
Heart: The light of the Gospel “transforms, heals and guarantees salvation” to those who receive it – What impact does the Gospel have in your life?
Hands: Who in your life could you be salt and light to in the coming weeks? How might you be that salt and light for them?
Spend some time in prayer with one another:
Conscious of what has just been shared, members briefly name/ describe their prayer needs.
Intentionally call on the Holy Spirit to be present (e.g. “Come Holy Spirit, please be present as we pray”)
Offer prayers of thanks and praise to God.
Pray for each others’ prayer needs. Where appropriate, you may like to encourage the group to place a hand on the shoulder of the individual that you are currently praying for.
Conclude your prayer time with another prayer of praise, perhaps praying the ‘Glory Be’
Account means the account held at your financial institution from which we are authorised to arrange for funds to be debited.
Agreement means this Direct Debit Request Service Agreement between you and us, including the direct debit request.
Business day means a day other than a Saturday or a Sunday or a listed public holiday.
Debit day means the day that payment is due.
Debit payment means a particular transaction where a debit is made, according to your direct debit request.
Direct debit request means the Direct Debit Request between us and you.
Us and we and our means the Catholic Development Fund.
You means the customer(s) who signed the direct debit request. Your financial institution is the financial institution where you hold the account that you have authorised us to arrange to debit.
Debiting your account
By submitting a direct debit request, you have authorised us to arrange for funds to be debited from your account according to the agreement we have with you.
We will only arrange for funds to be debited from your account:
As authorised in the direct debit request; if the debit day falls on a day that is not a business day, we may direct your financial institution to debit your account on the following or previous business day. If you are unsure about which day your account has or will be debited, please check with your financial
Changes by you
If you wish to stop or defer a debit payment you must write to us at least 5 business days before the next debit day.
This notice should be given to us in the first instance.
It is your responsibility to ensure that there are sufficient clear funds available in your account to allow a debit payment to be made.
If there are insufficient clear funds available in your account to meet a debit payment:
you or your account may be charged a fee and/or interest by your financial institution;
you or your account may be charged a fee to reimburse us for charges we have incurred for the failed transaction;
you must arrange for the payment to be made by another method
Please check your account statement to verify that the amounts debited from your account are correct.
If you believe that there has been an error in debiting your account you should call us on 1800 047 703 and confirm the details in writing with us as soon as possible so that we can resolve your query quickly.
You should check:
with your financial institution whether direct debiting is available from your accounts offered by financial
your account details which you have provided to us are correct by checking them against a recent account statement; and
with your financial institution before completing the direct debit request if you have any queries about how to complete the direct debit
Warning: if the account number you have quoted is incorrect, you may be charged a fee to reimburse our costs in correcting any deductions from:
an account you do not have authority to operate; or
an account you do not
We will keep any information (including your account details) in your direct debit request confidential.
We will make reasonable efforts to keep any such information that we have about you secure and to ensure that any of our employees or agents who have access to information about you, do not make any unauthorised use, modification, reproduction or disclosure of that information.
However, we may use your contact details to provide information about the fund. Should you wish this not to be the case, please advise the fund in writing.
Our diocesan logo is theologically rich and very succinct. As a hand, it depicts our mission as a diocese and as individuals within the diocese, of bearing (bringing, carrying) Christ’s love to one another and to the world around us. In this, we are the hand of Jesus Christ, and we are offering ourselves to him so that he might work through us.
We can be the bearers of his love only as a response to his call and in the strength of his grace. We are reminded of this in two ways—through the symbol of the dove (the Holy Spirit) also present in the logo, and by the incorporation of the cross that segments the logo. The presence of the cross is a reminder that bearing the love of Christ will inevitably cost us if we live it authentically. However, in the way that the Cross is the portent of redemption and life—an echo of the tree of life in the book of Genesis—so becoming bearers of the love of Christ will also bring us to life.
The four fingers of the hand also represent the four regions of our diocese. The first is bluerepresenting the beautiful water of the Shoalhaven. The second is a blue and green combination representing the waters and escarpment of the Illawarra. The third is greendepicting the hills and plains of the Macarthur. The fourth is dark green illustrating the forests of the Southern Highlands.