Sunday Reflection by Father Tracy O’Sullivan, O.Carm.

Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Mt. 5:13-16

Dear Friends,

One of the shocking facts about the religious scene in the U.S. is the following reality.  Roman Catholics are the largest religious group. The second largest are those who have left the Roman Catholic Church.

Somewhere along the line a great number of us in both of these groups failed to get the memo from Jesus that we need to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

When one delves into the reasons so many people have left the Church, the reasons are many and the blame is on all sides.

However, the response has to be to get back to the Gospel message.  We need to evangelize ourselves and others. Paul VI taught us that evangelization is the process o “bringing the Good News into every strata of humankind and through its influence transforming humanity from within and making it new.” (Evangelii Nuntiandi #19) He went on to say we need witnesses more than teachers.  For him, a witness was one whose life spoke so loudly and clearly you could not hear what he or she was saying.

In these three verses in today’s Gospel, Jesus is calling us to embrace the totality of the Sermon on the Mount.  He is telling us to live the message and to proclaim the message. It is all about love.

We, as a Church, and we as individual followers of Christ, need to encounter the power and the beauty of the call to let our light shine and to make a difference by embracing life in the footsteps of Jesus.

Reconciliation and service, forgiveness and generosity are the healing powers that crush division and call us to unity.  The Sermon is loaded with strategies for us to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.  We need to bring the focus back to Jesus as He presents himself and his message in the Sermon on the Mount.