What a beautiful reading today’s first reading for mass is! The scriptures say that if we do what God asks of us, “Then your light shall break forth like the dawn.”
However, there is something beautiful in doing the right thing anyway when we take care of other people. Every person is made in the image and likeness of God. We distort that image sometimes because of our sins, but we were not created to be that way.
Sometimes people are a little judgmental about the homeless, the poor, or the “black sheep” in our families. We think they should work harder to become self sufficient. However, many of these people suffer with an undiagnosed mental illness, a mental handicap, or just can’t figure out things very well on their own. Even Saint Paul admits to having weaknesses and fear and much trembling too though, in today’s second reading for mass.
Women sometimes become a little aggravated if they always have to be the one to cook dinner, if both spouses work full time. However, men often have jobs that require hard manual labor like construction, laying cement, carpentry or working in the fields in the hot sun all day.
Sometimes women are also not too happy about always being the one to prepare meals for the family gatherings too. We are a little like Martha in the gospel who complained to Jesus about having to do all the serving while Mary visited with the Lord.
Can you imagine what a better world we would live in if everyone lived by today’s first reading for mass though? God said to, “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.” Jesus said almost the same thing too in (Mt 25: 34-36). To feed the hungry and give them a drink, welcome strangers, clothe the naked, take care of the sick and visit those in prison.
This includes our own family members too. We should try to remember this, because this is the criteria that we will be judged by one day. Not our feelings … but what we actually did is what will matter then.
The part about not turning your back on your own though, is hard to adhere to if you have family members who are always asking you for money. But, if that happens, what they may need is someone to help them figure out how to get a better job, or ways to save money. There is an old saying, “Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, but teach a man to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.”
Jesus told us in today’s gospel that we are the salt of the earth, but if salt loses it’s flavor it is no longer good for anything. We run the risk of becoming jaded, busy, or indifferent in our everyday lives if we aren’t careful. There are always more things we want in life, but we should also save back some of our time, money and energy for other people too.
Christ also said that we are the light of the world. Do we blend in with the rest of the world, or do others know about our good deeds, compassion and caring for others? We proclaim Christ with our actions, but does anyone really know that we are a Christian? If we died today, would people outside our immediate family, friends and parish know that we are a Catholic? Our love is a light that should not be hidden from anyone, but should be shared with everyone that we encounter in our every day life….
There is a hymn that I love that we sing at mass and at funerals sometimes, called “On Eagles Wings”. I pray the words of this hymn will be true for me at the end of my life, a lifetime that I hope will have been spent in loving service to others. The lyrics describe the first reading for mass very beautifully though:
“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 light shall rise for you in the darkness and the gloom shall become for you like midday.”
Sunday Mass Readings:
Is 58: 7-10 / Ps 112: 4-5, 6-7, 8-9 / 1 Cor 2: 1-5 / Mt 5: 13-16