You are the Light of the World!
In this short homily for 6th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A, Father Hanly shows us how we are now one with Jesus, the light of the world, bringing light to where there was darkness.
Readings for Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
- First Reading: Sirach 15:15-20
- Responsorial Psalm: Psalms 119:1-2, 4-5, 17-18, 33-34
- Second Reading: First Corinthians 2:6-10
- Gospel: Matthew 5:17-37 or 5:20-22, 27-28, 33-34, 37
Today we resume our reading of Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount.
Large crowds are now following wherever Jesus goes. In today’s reading he is standing on the shore of the Sea of Galilee preaching to the crowds that covered the mountain sides.
Jesus had startled them by saying to them: “You are the light of the world.” Very dramatic, especially to the people gathered before him. Ordinary people, mostly poor, uneducated, illiterate.
He was talking to people who were not exceptional – just ordinary like ourselves – who were gathered together on that fateful day when Jesus told them, not what they should become but what they already are, namely God’s children, and not whether they were going to go to heaven or not, but rather in the words of St. Catherine of Sienna: “We are followers of Christ, and all the way to heaven is heaven for he (Jesus) has said, ‘I am the way!’”
And while Jesus had said to them: “You are the light of the world,” John’s Gospel tells us that at another time Jesus also said, “I am the light of the world.” And if we put the two together, of course, what we have is Jesus saying, “I am one with you. Together we will bring new light and brightness and hope and all the things that have been hungered for down through the ages. I will not do it alone. I will do it with you.”
And so, every moment of our lives without our realising it, whether we’re asleep, awake, eating, enjoying ourselves, weeping, whatever it is, we continue to be one with Jesus the light of the world, and the light belongs to Jesus who has decided to become, not just one of us, but responsible for all of us. For Jesus is the Son of God our Father.
What follows this week, is Jesus saying to his disciples, “Unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and the Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
What does that mean?
Well, righteousness means in the Old Testament, those who follow the covenant that God had established with his people, they followed the covenant and they followed the law and this was what made them righteous.
Righteousness means they would be right with God, they would be right with their brothers and sisters and they would be right with the whole world. It does not mean that everything they said and did was right.
What Jesus says is something just a little bit different. Jesus says, “You will follow me and become a people who have faith, not just laws but faith.” And that faith means a faith in him and a faith in each other — a faith that will move life forward.”
Now, that’s quite a step. It also means that the Old Testament is now being fulfilled.
And the New Testament is based not on laws but on love. God’s love! Love is the beginning, love is the middle and love is the end. God sends His only Son whom He loves that we might walk with him hand in hand through this world, putting our faith in him.
Now, putting your faith in him doesn’t just mean you believe in him. Putting your faith in him means you give your life to him and together you and Jesus will change the world. It’s very simple.
To bring peace, this is the object of God’s becoming man, to restore the peace that God intended for all creation when on that very first day, He said, “Let there be light.” And there was light.
And that light is now Jesus, and that light is you and I and all those who walk with him through this world driving back the darkness, being the light, living it and not just preaching it and talking about it and hoping for it, but living it day by day in every way, in the simple, ordinary gestures of our daily lives.