Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time


By John Dalla Costa

With the bright stars of Christmas now a receding memory, and the new dawn of Easter still months away, the liturgical year turns to helping us live the illumination of faith in ordinary time. Light is the motif connecting all of today’s readings: from the poetic-pragmatism of Isaiah, to the terse, Tweet-like declaration by Jesus that we “are the light of the world.”

What does it mean to light up ordinary time? In a canyon of still rising condominiums, our parish church is literally ever more in shadows cast by the city. So we don’t need to go far from our bell tower to discover the gloom of hunger, illness and homelessness, which Isaiah challenges us to see and correct.

Nor, however, do we need to go very far up or down Bay Street to discover other forms of darkness. In our culture, which makes morality optional, and truth relative, it is often hope that is eclipsed, and meaning that gets obscured. And in our neighborhood, it can just as easily be that the busiest people are the loneliest, the smartest most in need of understanding, and the most successful aching most for satisfaction. Jesus does not ask us to share the light, but to be the light; not to judge, but to embody our spirituality so that the peace and purposefulness from our baptism light up the darkness for those around us.

Ever the humble servant, Paul insists that we can’t let these bright lights go to our heads. It is after all God’s power that generates this potential in us. Our job is to be July in February – to radiate the warmth, gratitude, welcome and glee that help extract the deep preciousness from ordinary time.