5th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year A - 5/2/2023 - Gospel: Mt 5:13-16
Personal Holiness
To extract salt from seawater, wind, and sunlight make water evaporate and what remains is salt. Salt comes from the ocean, from below; and light comes from the sky, from above. Salt needs light for evaporation while light doesn't need salt. Salt and light are personalized in today's message. Our physical body needs salt and light daily. They are necessary for living because without them there is no life. In the same way, our spiritual life needs God's love and grace. We are made holy through God's grace. It remains in us as long as we connect to God through prayers. It is either our own prayers or others who pray for us. When we pray, or receive the sacraments of the Church, we open ourselves to receive God's love and grace. We are grateful for these redeeming gifts and thank God for his goodness. Because the gift of holiness is given, we need to treasure it by means of staying connected to God. This connectedness serves as the 'salt' that flows God's love and grace into our hearts, and which will preserve our heart and season it. This source of holiness in today's Gospel reading is symbolized as a personal salt and light for the world. We are called not to remain salt and light for our own enjoyment, but to share the salt and light with others. Salt has its own values; but is inactive when it remains alone. Mixing salt with food, the saltiness preserves the food, and as well as season it. Jesus alone can redeem the entire world, and yet He allows his followers to take part in his universal mission. As a true follower of Christ, one needs to maintain personal holiness, and at the same time share it with others. It is either at home, at work, or at a marketplace. The purpose of this sharing is to make others give glory to God. God's name is glorified when we do something good in God's Holy Name. The sharing of saltiness and lightness with the world is a lifelong mission of every Christian. The life-long mission does not always run smoothly, but from time to time, tensions arise because there is a fear of losing control of their position. This would affect their power and income; especially when cultures are deeply rooted in human superstition which is in conflict with the Christian faith. Persecution of Christians happens when the conflict is linked to politicians who reject Christian values.

God is the true Light and in Him, there is no darkness. When we receive the Light of God; we will be more like Christ, because the light of Christ will purify and dispel the darkness in us. Light is associated with goodness, happiness, and joy; while darkness and fear go hand in hand. Light brings hope and comfort. Christians become light for the world when they connect their lives to Christ. When Christians show light to the world it is not their own light, but the light of Christ in them shown.

Without Jesus, Christians have no light. Like the moon receives light from the sun, we; Christians receive light from Christ. Darkness in today's Gospel is not the darkness of our physical eyes, but rather it is the darkness buried deep in one's heart. When a heart is darkened, it covers the goodness in that person and the person is unable to make the difference between good and evil. The vision of life is limited and darkened by one's own ambition and that is the cause of all evil. Like the sun's brightness, the light of Christ can't be extinguished, covered, or hidden. It burns brightly and never runs out. Light comes from above, from the sky; nothing can cover it because it is too large to cover.

We pray God's light is burning brightly in our hearts and that made us true disciples of Jesus.