Sunday Breakfast with the Word 5th Sunday In Ordinary Time of the Year A
Isaiah 58: 7-10, First Corinthians 2: 1-5, Matthew 5: 13-16
How to be Useful to God.
In nature, nothing lives for itself. Everything lives to serve the needs of the other. Examples are air, water, land, plants, animals etc. These serve the need of human beings.
The three images used in the gospel today are Salt, Light and a City built on a hilltop. What is interesting about all three of these images is that they are not self-serving. The purpose of these three things is to serve the needs of others.
We are yet to understand our Christian calling if we have no positive impact on the lives of those around us, especially those in need. Authentic service to God has real and practical effects on the welfare of those around us.
Everything created by God does not serve its purpose only, rather it serves the purpose of others. It is through this, that it can fulfil the intention God created it.
Therefore, the only way to be useful to God is not when we pray only for ourselves, work for ourselves and serve ourselves.
When people become selfish even to the detriment of others, it creates disorder and distorts the intention of God’s creation. Selfishness brings distortion, suffering and affliction even to people who are selfish to themselves. Wherever we have selfish leaders, the people suffer.
Therefore, for one to live fully and fulfil the aim and purpose God created him or her, he must put others first in whatever He or she is doing.
Whatever you are doing in life, is for the service of other people. This is what God wants and by this, we shall surely be fruitful.
This is the way we become useful to God. It is the message of the first reading,
Today, we live on our own, we are sometimes always interested only in ourselves, and sometimes we become so self-centred forgetting that this type of life is not just unchristian but anti-nature.
Every Christian is called by God to be an influence on the world around him. Jesus began teaching this concept early in his ministry when he told his disciples that he would make them fishers of men. (Matthew 4:19).
Then, in the Sermon on the Mount, He used the illustrations of salt and light to illustrate what He meant by that statement.
The point is that both salt and light have properties which affect things around them. Let us take these images one by one. Therefore, the way we can be true fishers of men is to be salt and light to the world. Let us analyze these properties gradually.
The Statement “You Are”
When Jesus was addressing them today, Jesus says “You are”. He does not say “you may or you will”.
The statement “You are” indicates an identity, quality and character. For example, “you are a nurse or doctor” means that either of them is your identity. It is who you are.
Therefore, when Jesus says to the disciples “You are” He is reminding them of their identity. And if it is their identity, they should live a life worthy of who they are.
For example, a nurse must be true to her identity. A nurse should not leave her work to be working as a lawyer. It will cause disorder.
So, when Christians forget their vocation or who they are, to live a life that is not worthy of their vocation, it always causes disorder and distortion. Therefore, It is already in our bloodline to be a source of change for the world around us.
You are the Salt.
Salt is used to enhance the taste of the food we eat. Any food without salt loses its taste. Salt is the actual ingredient that brings out the taste of food.
Secondly, Salt is also a preservative. Before refrigeration or canning, most meats were preserved in one of these two ways. It was either dried and smoked or it was packed in salt. If packed in salt, the meat would last for years. It was a preservative.
Salt preserves decay. Salt is also curative. It has medicinal qualities. Before the time of modern medicine, salt was used as an antiseptic. Salt was oftentimes poured into an open wound to clean it of any impurities.
Thirdly, we use salt to make things taste better. It is a seasoning that enhances the flavour of food.
Therefore, Jesus calls his disciples to be fishers of men by being a grain of salt to the nations. As it enhances the taste of food, they have the vocation to enhance the lives of others.
What this means is that our vocation in life first and foremost is to enhance the lives of others. We are useful to God only when we live our lives touching souls.
Our presence and actions should touch and enhance the lives of people around us. This is what we are already as Christians, this is not under probability. It is not what we should do. This is who we are and what we are supposed to be.
2. Secondly, being a preservative, we are called to preserve the Biblical standards of faith and morality. Our presence in the world should heal and not destroy or bring disunity.
We are to bring hope and healing to the brokenhearted. We are called to season the world with the flavour of Grace.
Also, We are called to help preserve the world from decay. We are called to help bring healing.
Do you know that salt also causes thirst? so we are called to make people thirsty for Jesus.
Therefore we do not claim to be Christians when we are the source of pain, suffering and difficulties in the life of others. We are not useful to God when we make ourselves instruments of downfall, instead of instruments of salvation to people that come in contact with us.
We are not useful to God when we do not become like the air that people breathe, saving people from trouble and lifting burdens from others.
Also, we are not useful, when we only concentrate on ourselves, praying and concentrating only for ourselves and neglecting others.
In the first reading, Isaiah says “ Share your bread with the hungry, and shelter the homeless poor, clothe the man you see to be naked and do not turn from your kin”. This is our call, this is our vocation.
You are the Light.
One simple function of light is that it must dispel darkness. By dispelling darkness, it brings joy, shows the best path to follow and reveals things as they are.
Even God couldn’t create in darkness, and the first thing God created is light. Once light appears, darkness goes into extinction.
What does our presence do in the life of those around us? Are we instruments of light or darkness? Can our actions and presence bring joy or sorrow? In your family are you an instrument of progress or backwardness?
Do we bring souls to God or send them away by the way we live? Jesus has appointed us to bring light to dispel the darkness of the world. It is a sacred duty. This is the only way to bear fruit.
How to be a Light and Salt.
Firstly, when Jesus is saying “You are” he is pointing at those disciples and the people listening to Him.
These are people who have already decided to follow Him. To be a true light and to make our light shine, we have to decide to follow Jesus and listen to Him, then try to live like Him who is the true Light of the world (John 8:12).
This is what Saint Paul is trying to let the people of Corinth understand in the second reading, that everything he did was to make sure that their faith should not depend on human philosophy but on the power of God.
2. Secondly, from the first reading, the only way to be a light and salt for the world is to be useful to others. We are useful to God when we are useful to others.
It is to be a guide and helper to the poor around you. At this point, you shine in the darkness of their lives.
So, we become light not when we show people that we can rule and intimidate them with our positions. It is not when we brag about what we have. This is not also when we show off our material possessions in public but when we give bread to the hungry, save the needy, and shelter the homeless.
It is when we see one naked and cover him. This is when people try to destroy the image of your co-worker or partner but you stand by him to save his or her nakedness when you refrain from speaking badly of others, gossiping and slandering others.
This is also when we serve or do things not just for our gain but for the good of others.
The first reading says that when we become salt and light to the world, it is then that our light will break forth as the morning.
It is the easiest way to attract God’s favour. God says in the first reading that this is when our integrity will go before us and the glory of the Lord behind us.
It is the easiest way to make your prayers be answered. God says in the first reading that when we do this, our prayers will surely be answered. Then, when we Cry, the Lord will answer. He assures us of His ever-abiding presence, in times of trouble.
In the first reading, God says “if you give your bread to the hungry, and relief to the oppressed, your light will rise in the darkness, and your shadows become like noon”.
Therefore, what this means is that as we strive to change others, we also change ourselves. As we strive to pray for others, we also pray for ourselves.
Whatever you pray for others, you will also attract. The more you try to help others. The more God will remember you in your own time. Do not underrate any single act of kindness.
It will come back to you.
When we are useful to others, we are useful to ourselves and God. But when we focus only on selfishness, we create disorder and cause afflictions and problems. This is why many people are suffering today.
1. God calls us to become a light, a salt, and an instrument of salvation in the lives of others.
This is true fast. This is the only way to win God’s favour and heart. It can also be the secret of answered prayers.
I once told someone that when you pray and it seems nothing is happening, redirect your prayers, and begin to pray for others who have the same issue with him and give alms.
Living a life for others can be a secret to answered and effective prayers.
The first reading says, when we do this, then you shall call, and the Lord will hear.
This is how to be useful to God. Therefore, whatever position we acquire, whoever we are, whether in the family, places of work, positions, offices etc, remember you are there to serve God through the people and not for your glory.
2. Let us learn how to give no matter how little I hope you have heard about the three bodies of water in Israel. They are connected. The first is the sea of Galilee, the second is the Jordan River and the third is the Dead sea.
Both the Sea of Galilee and the Jordan River is filled with life, many fish and sea animals. But the Dead Sea is dead, there is no life in it. There is no fish, or shrimp, not even bacteria.
The Dead Sea is 8.6 times saltier than any ocean in the world. What happens here? Let me explain. The sea of Galilee gives water to the River Jordan. The River Jordan then gives water to the Dead Sea.
Then, guess what, the Dead sea gives water to no one. It refuses to share its water with any. So, water only escapes by evaporation, leaving all chemicals and salt in the Dead sea.
The point is that the Dead Sea becomes dead because it refuses to share.
Also, Do you know what keeps plants and animals alive? They share the products of their bio-processes.
During respiration, man breathes in oxygen and breathes out Carbon dioxide. Then during photosynthesis, plants take in this Carbon Dioxide and convert it to oxygen and glucose.
This helps to maintain the oxygen content of the atmosphere, and also for our consumption. Imagine if plants cease to do this, and man ceases his bio-process. There will be extinction. There will be no life.
Imagine a situation in, which you only inhale but do not exhale. Next is death. Lesson: Be a giver and not only a receiver. If you do not know how to give, you will always remain stagnant. Let us stop being selfish. It is not our identity. It is not our vocation.
3. Let us learn to serve others. Let us have others at heart in whatever we are doing. It will not only improve the other person, but rather it will also improve you. Because they will go out with testimonies, telling people about you. We are useful to God when we are useful to humanity.
Therefore, give even if you only have a little, says Budha, No river dries by emptying its content, also you can never become poor by giving, says James Allen. Give and it will be given to you says Jesus Christ ( Luke 6:38). Let us Learn how to give, it is a powerful law of abundance.
Do not be only a receiver. We have to stop this “mere m mere m mentality (Do for me, do for me). Giving is a natural law.
4. If we have others at heart, there will be no killing, no violence, and no brutality. If we bear others at heart, there will be no greediness, hike in the price of goods, fuel scarcity, lack of food etc.
These happen because we have greedy leaders and people who are only after their stomachs to the detriment of others.
5. We have to be salt to the world. One thing we do not need to forget is that Salt has little influence if we do not use it. Hence, it has great value once we use it in the right proportion.
Jesus also says Neither do you light a lamp, and put it under a measuring basket. We put a lamp upon a lampstand where it can provide light for the house. Therefore, God did not make us Christians for us to hide our identity. This is our calling.
We do not hide, thinking it is anybody else’s business. If we keep quiet, things are going to decay.
We are useful to God only when we are useful to the world and the people around us. We have a responsibility to transform the environment in which we find ourselves, just as salt transforms food.
Christians sitting alone in the comfort of their homes are unlikely to make much of a difference to the people. We are useful to God only when we are useful to others positively.
6. Like eyeglasses, the usefulness of salt exceeds its size. It is inexpensive but greatly needed and valued by all. Despite how small we can contribute to the world, despite how common it may look; it can make a huge difference and impact in the lives of many.
Jesus warns us not to be complacent. If salt loses its taste, it becomes worthless. Salt cannot change its chemical composition; so, it cannot lose its taste and value unless we adulterate it.
In Jesus’ day, much salt was recovered from the Dead Sea and was adulterated with various substances. At some point, adulteration could become so pronounced that people would discard the salt as worthless.
The danger we have today is that we are tempted to give too much credence to the values generated by the world and too little to the values found in the Bible. Worldly ideals have infiltrated into the moral fibre of our Christian upbringing.
This continues to affect us, affect our mission, affect our God-given destiny, we now look up to the world instead of Jesus who is the true light. And now instead of being a source of change, we bring into the world more moral decay, we lose our identity and forget who we are and our mission.
When that happens, we cease to be salt and become “good for nothing, but to be cast out and trodden under the feet of men”.
Therefore, this is a call to remember our identity and live up to it.
May God give us the grace to understand our Christian vocation and be a source of compassion, hope, love, and help moral upbringing and upliftment for the needy ones around us. Amen, God bless you.
I like the reasoning, logic, and mastery of the preacher. Carry on!
God bless you my mentor
Great Homily Father..
Pray for my journey towards priesthood too
Just be focused, hold on to the intercession of our Mother MAry
Interesting read and positively impactful
God bless you
I am greatly blessed by your homily. May God continue to it use you to propagate His words to the world. Amen.
Great content! Super high-quality! Keep it up! 🙂
Amen. Remain blessed Padre.
Amen. Thank you father.
Amen, remain blessed Fr. Happy Sunday
Amen, God please help me to obey Your command as a true Christian,
I thank God for his breakfast today. I pray that through His Grace, we as salt and light to the world, will create a positive impact in the world especially to people around us and be useful instruments. So that we can also be useful to God especially as Christians………… Amen 🙏🙏
Thank you Jesus,let me be light to others
Amen and Amen!
So help us, God!🙏
Amen. God bless you richly too
Amen and happy Sunday Fr Santus
Aaaaamen.God bless you too Father
“food for thought” thank you fr. for this great piece, God bless you too 🙏
Amen. Thank you Jesus!
Good afternoon Padre
Thank you for the inspiring word of God
Amen thanks Padre Happy Sunday
Amen 🙏🙏🙏. Lord make me more useful in life especially in the life of others. 🙏🙏🙏
Amen, may almighty God gives us grace to know whom we are. That we are the instrument in God’s hand to others and help us to create a positive impact to people around us in the world. All these we ask through Jesus Christ of our lord .Amen.
Amen 🙏. God is you too Padre.
I am richly blessed by this “breakfast with the word”.
This is one of the best Sermon / Homily I have received lately.
God bless you richly, Padre!
oh my GOD give me Grace to be hope to the needy AMEN 🙏