The Bishops Homily – 5th Sunday Ordinary Time

5th Sunday Ordinary Time
Is. 58:7-10
1 Cor. 2:1-5
Mt. 5:13-16

INTRODUCTION: At the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, he compares his disciples to:
(a) SALT  (ASIN)
(b) LIGHT  (ILAW)
(c) A CITY SET ON A HILL (NAYON/BAYAN SA BUROL)
Each of these three exists not for itself but for another thing else. Let us apply each of the three to RELIGION in general and to CHRISTIANITY in particular and to the people who profess it.

(1)    Of what value is SALT/LIGHT/ A CITY ON A HILL? In itself, NONE really   except in relation to what it is used for in ancient times and even today:
(a) SALT: (before the invention of Refrigeration) to season and preserve meat/food and to render the soil infertile as what Rome did to Carthage.
(b) LIGHT: (before the invention of electricity) to see something clearer
(c) CITY ON A HILL: (before Maps and GPS) like a compass to point or locate direction.
(d) RELIGION: in an privatized/individualized culture, is considered to make our lives holier but in the Bible, the holiness it gives to people affects the culture or their behavior to life-situations.

(2)    CHRISTIANITY   and CHRISTIANS like:
(a) SALT: seasons/preserves/undermines and destroys what is dysfunctional in society.
(b) LIGHT: highlights/enhances what is best in a culture.
(c) CITY ON A HILL: points to direction where one is.

The implication of Jesus is without vibrant Christianity or Christians, the world would be much worse than it is. A weak Christianity is a disaster for the world. The world depends on the Christian Churches to become what it is meant to be.

(3)    PRACTICAL APPLICATIONS IN LIFE:
•    The millions of babies per year who die to abortion and the millions of babies per year who never thrived to live due to contraceptive pills. The parents of most of these babies are Christians and Catholics also. Why do these happen and in great numbers? Di gaanong tumalab ang Pagka-Kristiano natin!

•    The killing of 7000 drug addicts these last seven months na walang tumututul at may mga umaayon pa dahil addict nga daw sila. Bakit?

•    Bakit ang dalas na ng baha ngayon tapos ng ulang dala ng hanging habagat? Pinutol ang mga kahoy sa bundok ng mga may lakas na businessman na mga Katoliko din.

CONCLUSION: Jesus’ rhetorical question “But what if salt goes flat?” should bother us. Jesus wants his disciples to be SALT, LIGHT, A CITY ON A HILL. BE SALT! BE LIGHT! BE A CITY ON A HILL! The world will be a better place.

Most Rev. Antonio R. Tobias, DD
Bishop of Novaliches

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