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Light of the World

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

First Reading: Isaiah 58:7-10

Thus says the LORD:
Share your bread with the hungry,
shelter the oppressed and the homeless;
clothe the naked when you see them,
and do not turn your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!
If you remove from your midst
oppression, false accusation and malicious speech;
if you bestow your bread on the hungry
and satisfy the afflicted;
then light shall rise for you in the darkness,
and the gloom shall become for you like midday.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 112:4-5, 6-7, 8-9

R. (4a) The just man is a light in darkness to the upright.
Light shines through the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious and merciful and just.
Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice.
R. The just man is a light in darkness to the upright.
He shall never be moved;
the just one shall be in everlasting remembrance.
An evil report he shall not fear;
his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
R. The just man is a light in darkness to the upright.
His heart is steadfast; he shall not fear.
Lavishly he gives to the poor;
His justice shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory.
R. The just man is a light in darkness to the upright.

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

When I came to you, brothers and sisters,
proclaiming the mystery of God,
I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom.
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you
except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling,
and my message and my proclamation
were not with persuasive words of wisdom,
but with a demonstration of Spirit and power,
so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom
but on the power of God.

Gospel: Matthew 5:13-16

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You are the salt of the earth.
But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned?
It is no longer good for anything
but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
You are the light of the world.
A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.
Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket;
it is set on a lampstand,
where it gives light to all in the house.
Just so, your light must shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds
and glorify your heavenly Father.”

NAB

“This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine! Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!” I sing to my sweet curly-haired boy. “Hide it under a bush?” I stop, asking him the question, even though he’s too young to answer me. His blue eyes brighten and a big grin comes to his face. “Oh noooooo,” I sing dramatically. He giggles hysterically. It’s his favorite part of the whole song. “I’m gonna let it shine. Let it shine, let it shine, let it shine!”

In Saint Mark’s Gospel today, we hear Jesus say: “You are the light of the world.” He is speaking to His disciples, and He is speaking to us. To me and to you—you, personally. You are the light of the world. Most likely you’ve heard this line of Scripture many times; you’ve probably even sung a hymn or two about it. This time I’m asking you not to rush past these all too familiar words of our Lord. I invite you to sit with Jesus for a moment. Hear Him say it to you, as if for the first time: You. Are the light. Of the world.

“Me?” You may ask yourself. Yes, you, sister. You are called by Jesus as a disciple of Christ to be light for the world. You are called to share His message and spread His love. Your light is to be “set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house.” It is to shine brightly before all. And oh, how the world needs your light.

What is so special about this light—your light? Each of us has something uniquely beautiful to share with the world, something good and important. The Christ-light in our hearts was lit at baptism, and we are to guard it. How is your flame burning these days? Is it dim, growing weary from the winds of the world? Is it glowing brightly, strengthened by time spent with Jesus and the graces of the Sacraments? Are you sharing Light with everyone in your life, setting those you meet aflame with His love?

Let us shine brightly, sisters, bringing glory to the One who is Light, the One who is Love.

Spend some time in prayer today with this devotion. Ask the Lord to show you where He needs you to shine your light a little more brightly. Do you hide your light under a bushel basket around certain people or in certain situations? Trust that God will give you the grace you need in all the times you seek to bring Him glory and honor.

Elise Howe is a devoted wife, momma, and musician currently living in NYC, though she will always be a midwestern gal at heart. You can find out more about her here.

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