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Home » Daily Gospel, Daily Readings

You Are the Light of the World (Mt. 5:13-16)

Submitted by on Tuesday, 8 June 2010No Comment

youarethelightoftheworld

  • Reading I: 1 Kings 17:7-16
  • Resp. Psalm: Psalm 4
  • Gospel Reading: Matthew 5:13-16

 

Elijah’s episode with the widow of Zarephath is remembered in the gospels and linked to the Jesus’ work in Nazareth.  Jesus reminded his townsmates that although there were many widows in Israel in the time of Elijah, the prophet was sent to a non-Israelite.  This reminder somehow anticipates the work of Jesus’ disciples among the Gentiles.  Even Jesus spent more time in Galilee of the Gentiles before making his way to Jerusalem and proclaim the kingdom there.

Matthew 5:13-16 is about the mission of Christians as salt of the earth and light of the world (CCC 782).  The Catechism refers to this passage in CCC 2821, the conclusion of the section on “Thy kingdom come” (CCC 2816-2821). 

The explanation begins with a philological and theological observation about the idea of “kingdom of God”.  It is a future reality that is already present proleptically in the Eucharist (CCC 2816).1.  In this sense, when we pray “thy kingdom come” we are also saying “Marana tha” (“Come, Lord Jesus!”) (CCC 2817).  So the petition actually refers to the definitive coming of God’s reign in Christ’s return (CCC 2818).  It is the reign of “righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” which began to grow since Pentecost (CCC 2819).  And then comes the paragraph on Christian presence in the world

2820 By a discernment according to the Spirit, Christians have to distinguish between the growth of the Reign of God and the progress of the culture and society in which they are involved. This distinction is not a separation. Man’s vocation to eternal life does not suppress, but actually reinforces, his duty to put into action in this world the energies and means received from the Creator to serve justice and peace.

It is in his presence in the world that the Christian becomes salt of the earth and light of the world.

Finally, in 2821, the Catechism explains that “Thy kingdom come” bears fruit “in a life in keeping with the Beatitudes.”

1 Kings 17:7-16
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg LXX Hebrew
7But after some time the torrent was dried up, for it had not rained upon the earth.
8Then the word of the Lord came to him, saying:
9Arise, and go to Sarephta of the Sidonians, and dwell there: for I have commanded a widow woman there to feed thee.
10He arose, and went to Sarephta. And when he was come to the gate of the city, he saw the widow woman gathering sticks, and he called her, and said to her: Give me a little water in a vessel, that I may drink.
11And when she was going to fetch it he called after her, saying: Bring me also, I beseech thee, a morsel of bread in thy hand.
12And she answered: As the Lord thy God liveth, I have no bread, but only a handful of meal in a pot, and a little oil in a cruse: behold I am gathering two sticks that I may go in and dress it, for me and my son, that we may eat it, and die.
13And Elias said to her: Fear not, but go, and do as thou hast said: but first make for me of the same meal a little hearth cake, and bring it to me: and after make for thyself and thy son.
14For thus saith the Lord the God of Israel: The pot of meal shall not waste, nor the cruse of oil be diminished, until the day wherein the Lord will give rain upon the face of the earth.
15She went and did according to the word of Elias: and he ate, and she, and her house: and from that day
16The pot of meal wasted not, and the cruse of oil was not diminished, according to the word of the Lord, which he spoke in the hand of Elias.
Matthew 5:13-16
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
13You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing any more but to be cast out, and to be trodden on by men.
14You are the light of the world. A city seated on a mountain cannot be hid.
15Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house.
16So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
Matthew 5:13-16
View in: NAB NIV KJV NJB Vulg Greek
13You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt lose its savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is good for nothing any more but to be cast out, and to be trodden on by men.
14You are the light of the world. A city seated on a mountain cannot be hid.
15Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but upon a candlestick, that it may shine to all that are in the house.
16So let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
CCC 782
¶782 The People of God is marked by characteristics that clearly distinguish it from all other religious, ethnic, political, or cultural groups found in history:

- It is the People of God: God is not the property of any one people. But he acquired a people for himself from those who previously were not a people: "a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation."

- One becomes a member of this people not by a physical birth, but by being "born anew," a birth "of water and the Spirit," that is, by faith in Christ, and Baptism.

- This People has for its Head Jesus the Christ (the anointed, the Messiah). Because the same anointing, the Holy Spirit, flows from the head into the body, this is "the messianic people."

- "The status of this people is that of the dignity and freedom of the sons of God, in whose hearts the Holy Spirit dwells as in a temple."

- "Its law is the new commandment to love as Christ loved us." This is the "new" law of the Holy Spirit.

- Its mission is to be salt of the earth and light of the world. This people is "a most sure seed of unity, hope, and salvation for the whole human race."

-Its destiny, finally, "is the Kingdom of God which has been begun by God himself on earth and which must be further extended until it has been brought to perfection by him at the end of time."

CCC 2821
¶2821 This petition is taken up and granted in the prayer of Jesus which is present and effective in the Eucharist; it bears its fruit in new life in keeping with the Beatitudes.
CCC 2816
¶2816 In the New Testament, the word basileia can be translated by "kingship" (abstract noun), "kingdom" (concrete noun) or "reign" (action noun). The Kingdom of God lies ahead of us. It is brought near in the Word incarnate, it is proclaimed throughout the whole Gospel, and it has come in Christ's death and Resurrection. The Kingdom of God has been coming since the Last Supper and, in the Eucharist, it is in our midst. The kingdom will come in glory when Christ hands it over to his Father:

It may even be . . . that the Kingdom of God means Christ himself, whom we daily desire to come, and whose coming we wish to be manifested quickly to us. For as he is our resurrection, since in him we rise, so he can also be understood as the Kingdom of God, for in him we shall reign.

CCC 2817
¶2817 This petition is "Marana tha," the cry of the Spirit and the Bride: "Come, Lord Jesus."

Even if it had not been prescribed to pray for the coming of the kingdom, we would willingly have brought forth this speech, eager to embrace our hope. In indignation the souls of the martyrs under the altar cry out to the Lord: "O Sovereign Lord, holy and true, how long before you judge and avenge our blood on those who dwell upon the earth?" For their retribution is ordained for the end of the world. Indeed as soon as possible, Lord, may your kingdom come!

CCC 2818
¶2818 In the Lord's Prayer, "thy kingdom come" refers primarily to the final coming of the reign of God through Christ's return. But, far from distracting the Church from her mission in this present world, this desire commits her to it all the more strongly. Since Pentecost, the coming of that Reign is the work of the Spirit of the Lord who "complete[s] his work on earth and brings us the fullness of grace."
CCC 2819
¶2819 "The kingdom of God [is] righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit." The end-time in which we live is the age of the outpouring of the Spirit. Ever since Pentecost, a decisive battle has been joined between "the flesh" and the Spirit.

Only a pure soul can boldly say: "Thy kingdom come." One who has heard Paul say, "Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies," and has purified himself in action, thought and word will say to God: "Thy kingdom come!"

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  1. Just keep in mind the story of the feeding of the multitudes which is a foretaste of the Messianic banquet but at the same time an anticipation of the Eucharist. []

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