Sunday, February 6, 2011

High Praise - High Expectations

Homily from the 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time - Year A

This past week, was fantastic.  School was out Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday; we had a 2 hour delay on Friday.  Monsignor’s gone and I have my run of the rectory.  As he was walking out the door, I told him, “You know I’m going to trash the place while you’re gone.”  “Please do!” he replied.

But the best thing that happened this week: the Notre Dame football team signed a top-10 class of incoming freshmen for next year, including St. Vincent’s own Tony Springman.  In fact, one of the recruiting sites (and clearly, the best one of them all) says that Notre Dame’s recruiting class is the best in the nation.  That’s pretty high praise for the Irish.  And of course that brings along pretty high expectations.

Jesus does the same thing in today’s Gospel.  Jesus heaps some pretty high praise on us, calling us “salt of the earth” and “light of the world.”  Likewise, such praise means Jesus has high expectations for us.

Salt is a sign of purity.  Romans said salt was the purest of all things, because it came from the purest of all things: the sun and the sea.  Salt was also added to Jewish sacrifices to make them pure.

Jesus praises us by saying, “You are pure.”  Therefore, Jesus has high expectations for us to become and remain pure.  Our language must be pure – especially around the home and our families.  That which we look upon must be pure.  We must look upon each other with pure eyes.

Salt is also a preservative.  It’s the primary ingredient in meat curing.  When it’s applied to meats and fish, it prevents the growth of bacteria and keeps food from going rancid.

Jesus praises us by calling us the “preservative of the earth."  Likewise, Jesus has high expectations for us to have an antiseptic influence on life.  We have to be agents of preservation of the moral standards and values given to us by God.  We must defend truths of the faith and human condition – the dignity of the human person, the meaning of marriage, justice for all.

Salt also brings out the flavor of foods.  You just can’t have popcorn without salt.  I’ve even see people salt their watermelon.

Jesus praises us by calling us the “flavor enhancers of the world."  Likewise, Jesus has high expectations for us to bring out that which is good in the world and make it better.

And Jesus calls us the “light of the world.”  Light is first and foremost something to be seen.  In a dark room, a lit candle is unmistakable and unavoidable. 

Jesus praises us by saying “you are the very thing I want people to see in the world.”  Likewise, Jesus has high expectations for our Christianity to be visible to others.  We cannot be secret disciples.  We have to be out there what we are in here.  Jesus doesn’t call us the light of the Church, he calls us “the light of the world.”  “So, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”

Light is also something that serves as a guide.  Light makes clear the way ahead.  Can you imagine driving at night without headlights? 

Jesus praises us by calling us the example he wants others to follow.  Likewise, Jesus has high expectations for us to be good examples.  When people hear us speak and see us act, they should say to themselves either implicitly or explicitly, “Here is a person who listens to, and follows, Christ.”

And lastly, light serves as a warning; ;ike a lighthouse on a dark and rocky storm-swept shore that the ships at sea of the rocks and shoals.

Jesus praises us by calling us "lifeguards of the world."  Likewise, Jesus has high expectations for us to have the courage to offer fraternal correction to our brothers and sisters when they stray

You are salt and light.  You are God’s chosen instruments of good.  You are agents of purity and preservation.  You are the solicitors of righteousness and the illuminators of truth.  You are the voices of reason and warning.

And like salt and light, you cannot be contained.  The light of the earth must not put under a bushel basket.  Likewise, the salt of the earth cannot stay safe inside the salt shaker.  We must get out there into the world.  Like salt and light, we must penetrate every crevasse and corner of the world with the Gospel of Christ.

No comments:

Post a Comment