Monday, 10 February 2014

5th Sunday after the Epiphany -Br luke EFO

St- Andre-Rublev's Saviour
Holy Redeemer

In the care of the Ecumenical Franciscan Order

Homily preached at Winmalee: 

9th February 2014,   by Br Luke efo

 Matthew 5:1-12.

Sometime the lectionary compiler’s linkages between the readings is hard to grasp, but today it is very easy. The common theme is the idea that our actions, understanding and will reveal that which God has graced us with, and how we live.

Isaiah tells the people: 7 Isn't it to distribute your bread to the hungry, and that you bring the poor who are cast out to your house? When you see the naked, that you cover him; and that you not hide yourself from your own flesh? 8 Then your light will break out as the morning, and your healing will appear quickly; then your righteousness shall go before you; and the LORD’s glory will be your rear guard.”

The psalmist says in verse 4 of today’s Psalm “Light dawns in the darkness for the upright, gracious, merciful, and righteous.”

St Paul perhaps being a little mystical tells the Corinthians: “9 But as it is written, “Things which an eye didn't see, and an ear didn't hear, which didn't enter into the heart of man, these God has prepared for those who love him.”

This brings us to Jesus who, Matthew tells said “14 You are the light of the world. A city located on a hill can’t be hidden. 15 Neither do you light a lamp, and put it under a measuring basket, but on a stand; and it shines to all who are in the house. 16 Even so, let your light shine before men; that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”

I will return to this, but firstly I want to digress for just a minute.

Jesus also talks about salt.  Why salt?  In the ancient times salt was a valuable commodity, it was also used as a weapon and as a preservative for food.  We humans cannot live without salt, but too much salt will kill us.  As Jesus mentions we use it for bringing out the flavor of our meals, but again too much will spoil the meal.  There is a fine balance then between what is good and useful and that which is bad and ruinous.  Why is this important? Because it points us to the reality of the world and life that we live and witness to.

If we are to bring flavor to the world, to add joy and love to the lives of people around us, we need to make sure that the light of God’s kingdom is clearly seen.  How do we do this? By living, witnessing, practicing, the two great commandments.  Which as we all know are, “Love the Lord your God and love your neighbor as yourself”.  These are hard to do, and I don’t know about you, but there are times I have some sympathy with the people complaining to Isaiah. Of course the answer he gives is what we expect, but it still human to gripe – perhaps not much has changed in the past few thousand years.

When we look at our lives, do we see instances of where we have been living in such a way that the glory of God can shine like a light on hill?  Are we willing to do this so the healing will appear?  I suspect the answer is no.

Now I know that we will tell ourselves that there is more we have to do to show the light of the Kingdom.  And while this is probably true, we also need to remember that it is important to keep a balance - a perspective on what we can personally achieve. Like the balance with salt, we need to know how, where and how our light shines.  It’s OK to get others to help us light and show the beacon, to take the basket off the light, rather than trying to do it all by ourselves.  We are a community and it’s through our joint lives, our witness together that we show the light of the Kingdom of God.

So in the next few weeks, give some thought to how you as an individual, and we as community can help others to see the light and grace of God’s kingdom.