Jerusalem was to be a city set on a hill, high above all others, drawing all nations toward the glorious light streaming from her Temple.
Jesus came among us as light to scatter the darkness of a fallen world.
As His disciples, we, too, are called to be "the light of the world," He tells us in the Gospel this Sunday (see John 1:4-4, 9; 8:12; 9:5).
All three images that Jesus uses to describe the Church are associated with the identity and vocation of Israel.
God forever aligned His kingdom with the kingdom of David and his sons by a "covenant of salt," salt being a sign of permanence and purity (see 2 Chronicles 13:5, 8; Leviticus 2:13; Ezekiel 43:24).
Jerusalem was to be a city set on a hill, high above all others, drawing all nations toward the glorious light streaming from her Temple (see Isaiah 2:2; 60:1-3).
And Israel was given the mission of being a light to the nations, that God's salvation would reach to the ends of the earth (see Isaiah 42:6; 49:6).
The liturgy shows us this week that the Church, and every Christian, is called to fulfill Israel's mission.
By our faith and good works, we are to make the light of God's life break forth in the darkness, as we sing in this week's Psalm.
This week's readings remind us that our faith can never be a private affair, something we can hide as if under a basket.
We are to pour ourselves out for the afflicted, as Isaiah tells us in the First Reading. Our light must shine as a ray of God's mercy for all who are poor, hungry, naked, and enslaved.
There must be a transparent quality to our lives. Our friends and family, our neighbors and fellow citizens, should see reflected in us the light of Christ and through us be attracted to the saving truths of the Gospel.
So let us pray that we, like St. Paul in the Epistle, might proclaim with our whole lives "Christ, and him crucified."
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
1 Corinthians 2:1-5
- Scott Hahn is the founder and president of the Saint Paul Center for Biblical Theology. He is also the bestselling author of numerous books including The Lamb's Supper, Reasons to Believe, and Rome Sweet Home (co-authored with his wife, Kimberly). Some of his newest books are The Creed, Joy to the World and Evangelizing Catholics.
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