Readings for the 5th Sunday after the Epiphany
Matthew 5:13-20; 1 Corinthians 2:1-12; Isaiah 58:3-9a
One of the critical things every human being requires in order to live a happy and fulfilling life is purpose. It isn’t enough to know that God put us here; we also need to know why. When our Lord Jesus declares you and I – his disciples – to be the “salt of the earth” and “light of the world”, he is speaking to the fundamental purpose of our lives as Christians. We are here to show the world what God’s Kingdom looks like in flesh and blood. Our ability to do that comes not from ourselves, but from God Himself moving in us. Our “saltiness” and “lightness” flows from His blessing (Matt 5).
The Old Testament reading puts a finer point on that purpose God has for us by outlining precisely a few of the behaviors God wants to see in His people. Among them are: bringing relief to the oppressed, sharing food with the hungry, providing a home for the homeless and clothing for the naked. That list alone is enough to keep the Church busy until Jesus returns! (Is 58)
In a continuation of our readings through Paul’s letter to the Corinthians, he builds on his earlier point that God’s wisdom looks like foolishness to man. Paul asserts that God’s wisdom comes from the Holy Spirit, and no one can hope to comprehend the thoughts of God unless he or she has the Holy Spirit (1 Cor 2).