5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Cycle A
February 4/5, 2023
Isaiah 58: 7-10; 1 Cor. 2: 1-5; Matthew 5: 13-16
It’s all about God. That is my homily this week. It’s all about God.
One proof that God that exists, it seems to me, is all of you, this parish, this community, and this world in which we live. The most evident proof God exists, perhaps, is all of his creation. “How can you say this” you may ask, “given all the tragic things we hear about each day, given the many sins we commit, given the reality of death and suffering?”
I believe that the “light” we hear about in the Gospel today that we must bring into our darkened world is the message that it is all about God.
Why was Jesus was born, the Son of God becoming man? One answer is what the prophet Isaiah said, that Jesus was to be a light in a dark world. Jesus entered this world so that we could see God, and know what he wants from us, and what he wants to give us.
Why were you were born, an adopted son or daughter of God? One answer is you are to be a light in a dark world. You entered this world as a light so that others can see who God is, what he wants from them, and what he wants to give them in the future.
Do those two reasons sound the same?
Yes, because we are very much like Jesus. The difference is Jesus did it all because he is God, whereas we do the small part because we are only human, adopted children of God. We do what we can; Jesus did everything. So, I have to ask, “What is the small part to which God is calling you? What is the “light” that he wants you to put on a lamp stand for all to see?”
I think you can only answer those questions if you are free: free from fear. Fear keeps us from getting up on a lamp stand and shining. So many fears we have…. Failure, embarrassment, shame, guilt, being exposed and known, on and on…. So we hide under a bushel basket.
Yes, to shine we must be free from fear. We can be free from fear and shine in the darkness if we remember some things.
First, God is God, the one and only God. He always has been, and always will be. We share in his very being. We share in God’s life. Our lives are his. Our lives are not our own. They are God’s. We are all about God. We are his image.
Second, all things exist because God exists, even the rocks, air, soil, and the universe. It’s all about God. God gives life to plants. He gives sensation to animals. He gives understanding and free will to human beings. Your life is all about God. God has made you a temple of the Holy Spirit. God lives in you and through you. You are that sacred. Never forget that!
Third, we cannot escape God, his love, his light, his judgments, or his power. God is everywhere, all the time. We cannot escape the fact that everything that we possess is a pure gift from God. Everything that makes you you is given to you by God. God is love. Love always requires giving, so God gives everything, and he gives it perfectly.
Fourth, God wants us to love him and to love each other because of our love for him. God doesn’t need our love, but he wants us to love him and each other so we can be like him, resemble him, become his light. St. John says that we are liars if we say we love God but hate our brother. What we do is very important. Jesus says in today’s gospel that our light must shine; in other words, our love must be lived, not just talked about under a bushel basket of fear.
All of this is hard for us, and we will be fearful, if we do not believe in God’s presence, his life, and his love which he shares with us. It’s hard to love when we do not believe that it is all about God, that he holds all things in existence, even our very lives, that without him there would be nothing, that we have nothing that God hasn’t first given to us. We will live in fear, under a bushel basket of fear, if we don’t have faith in God’s perfect love. We will be afraid that we will fail, that we will end up with nothing, that we will be emotionally and materially bankrupt. But if we say, “Yes, God you are with me. Yes, God, you love me!” our fears will lessen. Then we will be able to say to him, “Take, Lord, and receive all that I have, all that I am. Do with me as you will, because you always are with me.” If we believe that it’s all about God, then we will gladly, without fear, love each other. We will shine on that lamp stand. We will glorify God that way. We will be like the man in the responsorial psalm today: gracious, merciful, just, without fear, trusting, lavish, and exalted.
If you are afraid, give it to God. Give him the bushel basket you hide under. He wants you to shine in today’s world, to be without fear and on a lamp stand for all to see. Yes, you are that important! Do not be afraid to shine in your life. It’s all about God in the end. Be about him now in all things and in every way.