Readings, 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

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Sunday, 5 February 2023

The Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A

Sunday, 5 February 2023
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Cycle A
Readings and Antiphons on p. 798 of the Daily Missal and p 324 of the Sunday Missal.

Entrance Antiphon.

O come, let us worship God and bow low before the God who made us, for he is the Lord our God.

First Reading: Isaiah 58:7-10

A reading from the Book of Isaiah.

Thus says the Lord:
“Share your bread with the hungry,
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh.
Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
and your healing shall spring up speedily;
your righteousness shall go before you,
the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
you shall cry, and he will say, Here I am.

“If you take away from the midst of you the yoke,
the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday.”

The Word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 112:4-5.6-7.8a & 9 (R. 4a)

Let us now pray the Responsorial Psalm:

R/. A light rises in the darkness for the upright.

A light rises in the darkness for the upright;
he is generous, merciful, and just.
It goes well for the man who deals generously and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice.

He will never be moved;
forever shall the just be remembered.
He has no fear of evil news;
with a firm heart, he trusts in the Lord.

With a steadfast heart, he will not fear;
Open-handed, he gives to the poor;
his justice stands firm forever.
His might shall be exalted in glory.

R/. A light rises in the darkness for the upright.

Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

A reading from the First Letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians.

When I came to you, brothers and sisters,
I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God
in lofty words or wisdom.
For I decided to know nothing among you
except Jesus Christ and him crucified.
And I was with you in weakness and in much fear and trembling,
and my speech and my message
were not in plausible words of wisdom,
but in demonstration of the Spirit and power,
that your faith might not rest in the wisdom of people
but in the power of God.

The Word of the Lord.

Please stand for the Gospel.

Alleluia, Alleluia.
I am the light of the world, says the Lord; he who follows me will have the light of life.

Gospel: Matthew 5:13-16

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Matthew.

At that time:
Jesus said to his disciples,
“You are the salt of the earth;
but if salt has lost its taste,
how shall its saltness be restored?
It is no longer good for anything
except to be thrown out and trodden underfoot by people.

“You are the light of the world.
A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.
Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a bushel,
but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.
Let your light so shine before people,
that they may see your good works
and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.”

The Gospel of the Lord.


Dr Viktor Frankl was a medical doctor and a psychiatrist living in Austria when the Second World War broke out. He was also Jewish. In 1942, just nine months after his marriage, Frankl and his family were sent to the Theresienstadt concentration camp. His father died there of starvation and pneumonia. In 1944, Frankl and the surviving members of his family were transported to Auschwitz, where his mother and brother were murdered in the gas chambers. His wife died later of typhus in Bergen-Belsen. Frankl spent three years in four concentration camps.

Victor Frankl asked himself why he was able to survive three grim years at Auschwitz and other Nazi prisons. He wrote a book called ‘Man’s Search for Meaning’ based on his experiences in the concentration camps and said this: “We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken away from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” (Victor Frankl in Man’s Search for Meaning).

In the Gospels of the last four Sundays we have been following the story of Jesus’ early career.

  • He went to be baptized.
  • Then he moved to Capernaum from Galilee when John the Baptiser was killed by King Herod.
  • He then chose his apostles (who somehow knew him as the one to follow).
  • Last Sunday we heard part of his Sermon on the Mount. Speaking to his disciples, he gave them the beatitudes.
  • Now he begins to instruct the disciples about how to be his followers.

In this week’s Gospel, Jesus uses 2 powerful images. He says: You are the salt of the earth; and, You are the light of the world.

  • If you are salt then don’t lose your flavour of salt.
  • If you are a lamp then don’t put a basket over yourself so no one can see your light.
  • Give flavour. Give light. Be what you are.

This is consoling advice. You get to be yourself.

But would the disciples have followed Jesus if they had known what it really means to “be yourself”?

  • The first reading gives a hint.
  • It says to share your bread with the hungry.
  • Shelter the oppressed and the homeless.
  • Clothe the naked.
  • Do not turn away from your own.
  • This is how you let your light shine in the darkness.
  • This is how Jesus enlightened the world.
  • He even went to death for it. Isn’t this the meaning of “becoming yourself”?

A big assignment.

Today the definition of “being me” can sound like selfishness.

  • “I get to do whatever I want to do.”
  • “Take care of number one.”
  • “If it feels good, do it.” And so on.

One of the classic songs made popular by Frank Sinatra is “I Did It My Way,” co-written by Sinatra and Paul Anka. The well known words say:

  • I planned each charted course,
    each careful step, along the byway,
    and more, much more than this,
    I did it my way.
  • And so on.
  • The main message is that “I” have succeeded in life as long as I did everything “my way.”
  • There is a backdrop of fear here,
    • something about not being free to be myself;
    •  to have to do everything according to someone else’s design.
  • The world and its population are very, very large
    • Recently the population of the world reached 8 billion people.
    • It is no surprise that mass production and mass advertising and mass purchasing give us the feeling that
    • we are just cogs in a giant, international, industrial wheel,
    • worth nothing in ourselves
    • but just contributing to the market as long as we do and buy what we are supposed to.
  • So, “to do it my way” is a statement about facing down the great machine and defying it outright.

But the Gospel assumes the opposite.

  • The Scriptures suppose that every human being is created with a unrepeatable, deep, interior shape.
  • Rather than fighting to do my own will no matter what, I need to allow the Spirit of God to find a home deep within my space.
  • This is the Spirit of loving, of respect, of forgiveness.
  • It is God.
  • You and I are built to be at one with this presence.
  • Becoming myself means becoming what I was built to be: a home for the Spirit of Jesus, of God.

Viktor Frankl managed to survive the Nazi concentration camps by his ability to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way – choosing the right attitude.

When we choose God’s love, that same love will become us.

  • It will help us find ourselves as what we really are deep down:
    • givers of food,
    •  helpers to the homeless,
    •  forgiving and loving members of society.
  • In other words, we will become truly ourselves, the fullness of what God wants us to be.

From today’s Gospel reading:

Jesus said to his disciples:

“You are the salt of the earth.

But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned?

It is no longer good for anything.”


Jesus Christ is not only calling us the “salt of the earth,” he is telling us to be that salt. It’s an awesome responsibility for we are to be witnesses who point the way to Jesus. We may feel as small and insignificant as salt, such a tiny ingredient, but like salt we are to mix in, not avoid, life in the world. People will recognize the flavour we bring into the world–it is the quiet, but effective presence of Christ–the one with whom we have a lasting covenant of salt.

So we ask ourselves:

  • How and where am I a “salty” witness to the living Christ?
  • What daily practices do I follow to sustain myself as “salt of the earth?”

Communion Antiphon.

Let them thank the Lord for his mercy, his wonders for the children of men; for he satisfies the thirsty soul, and the hungry he fills with good things.

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