Breaking Open the Word
By James Cavanagh
Feb. 6: Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
In the second reading Paul reminds the Corinthians of his own weakness. Despite his limitations, God used him to proclaim the Gospel. His only aim was to preach “Jesus Christ and him crucified.” Corinth was a large, busy seaport populated by intelligent and urbane people. They did not want to hear about sin, nor of a crucified Jew who could deliver them from sin. For those who could accept Paul’s message, however, the cross was ‘the power of God’ to overcome sin and change one’s life.
The Gospel reading continues Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. His disciples are called to emulate him. They are not to be like salt and light in the world; they are to be salt and light. They are to manifest the inner reality of Christ in their lives through good works, sanctifying the world in the process.
Key verse: “Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Mt 5:16).
Catechism of the Catholic Church: “What faith confesses, the sacraments communicate: by the sacraments of rebirth, Christians have become ‘children of God,’ ‘partakers of the divine nature.’ Coming to see in the faith their new dignity, Christians are called to lead henceforth a life ‘worthy of the Gospel of Christ’” (No.1692).
Pope Benedict XVI: “The mystery of the Eucharist inspires and impels us to work courageously within our world to bring about that renewal of relationships which has its inexhaustible source in God’s gift. … The Christian laity, formed at the school of the Eucharist, are called to assume their specific political and social responsibilities” (“Sacramentum Caritatis,” 91).
Life application: Glory and good deeds. They go together. The essence of who we are as Catholics is expressed most eloquently in the Eucharist. The liturgy must shine with the radiance of Christ’s love. From it “good deeds doth proceed.” The moral health of a society is judged by how it treats its weakest and most defenseless members. As Catholics we are blessed with so many good things, not the least of which is the Mass. But those blessings carry the responsibility of bringing the light of the Gospel into a world plagued by darkness and sin.
James Cavanagh is director of Evangelization and Catechesis for Metro-Area Parishes of the Denver Archdiocese. For information on subscribing to "Breaking Open the Word, click here. For archives click here.