Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time


By M.J. Santa Ana

Jesus says to “let your light shine before human beings, so that they may give glory to your Father in heaven.” Our light shines when we do a good thing out of a sincere concern for the needs of others. Good works are not limited to what we might call charitable acts.

An employee lets their light shine when they do their job in such a way that it betters the organization and creates something valuable for the people the organization serves. A leader does the same when they inspire, encourage and motivate those in their charge to be their best. A well-prepared student who participates meaningfully in class is letting their light shine by providing insights that can help their fellow learners understand a subject better or see it in a whole new perspective. What may seem to us as normal activities are in fact opportunities to model God’s love to others, that they may discover and glorify Him for themselves through our example. Good works are an integral part of living out faith.

This might seem intuitive, but the people who heard the prophet Isaiah thought that by merely performing occasional religious practices – fasting, humbling themselves by wearing sackcloth and ashes – they were entitled to God’s providence. They seemed to think it did not matter how they treated each other when they were not in the temple. The Lord points out through Isaiah that He prefers the practice of mercy over rituals completed for the sake of appearances, and also promises those who practice mercy that their calls for help will be answered.

Acts of mercy, therefore, are the best offerings we can give to God as it shows our love for those closest to His heart, and provide a proclamation of the truth of our faith in a way that lofty words of wisdom cannot.

Sunday’s Readings:

Isaiah 58.6-10 

1 Corinthians 2.1-5

Matthew 5.13-16