Daily Readings Reflection for 2/6/11

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Scripture: Lectionary # 74: Isaiah 58:7-10. Psalm 112:4-5,6-7,8-9. I
Corinthians 2:1-5. and Mtthew 5:13-16

Today’s Readings

Recently we celebrated a feast that is associated with light, the Feast of
the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple.  Jesus would be a light for the
nations.  On this day we also blessed candles, hence, the feast is
sometimes called Candlemass Day.  In Mexico children process with lighted
candles to the altar on the day of their first communion.  What a beautiful
custom connected with the Presentation of the Lord.

The readings for this fifth Sunday in ordinary time have the theme of
light. One can easily reflect on this symbol for Christ and through the
Gospel make an application of what it means to have our good works shine in
the world for others to see because we are the light or lights of the
world!  Not a bad challenge for us this Sunday and the coming week.

Salt is mentioned too by our Lord in his address to his disciples and to
us. Jesus, we remember, speaks to us today just as clearly as he did to
this disciples. Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and in the time to come
as we learned from Hebrews 13:8.  Moreover, in the Fourth Gospel we hear
Jesus telling us plainly that he is the light of and for the world.  The
prologue also associates him with light and to a lesser degree John the
Baptist who is light coming from a lamp compared to the Light that is
Jesus.

Candles remind us of the liturgy within our churches and chapels.  The
Paschal candle is lit during the Easter Season and at other occasions like
Baptisms and Weddings.  Jesus’ presence is also shared with us with the
sanctuary lamp, a light near the front of the altar or near the tabernacle.

The symbolic and metaphoric meaning of light is found in all four Gospels
but it is Matthew who personalizes it in the little paragraph we have today
for our proclaimed Gospel.  It can easily serve as our prayer for the
week:”You (we) are the light of the world. …You (we) are the salt of the
earth”. And the clincher: “Your light must shine so brightly before others
that they can see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in
heaven.”

Psalm 112 like Psalm 27 is about light as a symbol for righteousness or
integrity.  “The just one is a light in darkness to the upright.” This
helps us to pray that we may be light for the world.  And when we ask about
the first reading and its relationship to the Gospel we see that our light
shall break forth like the dawn.  The good works that Jesus says will come
from our light are the acts of love and generosity that are mentioned in
Isaiah and confirmed by Paul: sharing bread with the hungry, sheltering the
oppressed and the homeless, clothing the naked and not turning away from
our own when they need help. “Then light shall rise for you in the
darkness, and the gloom shall become for you like mid-day.” Amen.

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