Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Call to worship

Those who follow Jesus must be like salt and light. God wants us to reach our fullest potential — to let our faith shine boldly so that our deeds can change the world and heal the wounds of humanity.

  • To the point: This gospel uses two metaphors with positive and negative import. Salt enhances but is thrown away and trampled if it becomes tasteless. Light shines but is ineffective if it is hidden. Jesus says clearly that disciples must spend themselves in preserving and carrying forward his saving mission. Disciples must season the world with God’s word and faithfully shine forth God’s Presence. The choice is ours: season or be discarded, shine or be hidden.
  • Connect the Gospel to the first reading: The first reading makes concrete the “good works” disciples are to do and who disciples are: “light [that] shall break forth like the dawn.” Armed with light and good works, disciples dispel the darkness of the world and shine forth God’s saving works.
  • Connect the Gospel to experience: When food is served bland, we salt it. When day fades to night, we turn on a light. Even these simple resolutions involve a choice and require an action on our part.


Today’s readings show the way beyond flatness, dullness and meaninglessness. The just person is a beacon for the upright; the generous human an everlasting remembrance; the lavish giver steadfast and enduring.

Isaiah marks the way with clear signposts: “share your bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and homeless, clothe the naked, don’t turn your back to your own, remove oppression, false accusation, and malicious speech, satisfy the afflicted.”

Through sincere compassion and honest concern, the wounds of our broken world are healed whenever we uncover the latent good in the salt of humanity, and show forth the splendor of God’s light where it is suppressed under bushels of injustice.

Centering prayers

The Gospel

(Matthew 5: 13-16)

You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world.

Lord, show us how to be salt and how to give light.
We want to share our bread with the hungry;
we want to shelter the homeless and clothe the naked.
Teach us. Show us how to help the immigrant;
to free those who are prisoners.
Teach us to give, a little at first, then all we have.

The First Reading

(Isaiah 58: 7-10)

Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer.

Lord, will you break through our headstrong ways?
Free us to heal wounds and hunger,
to overlook our own desires,
and instead care for those in need.
Christ, let us hear your voice, as you say
“Here I am, and here they are.”

The Second Reading

(1 Corinthians 2: 1-5) 

I came to you in weakness so that your faith might rest
not on human wisdom but on the power of God.

Paul came, speaking not words of sublime understanding;
not elaborate terms of human dispute,
but simply, the mystery of Christ,
preaching nothing but his crucifixion.
Lord, let us love you.

Copyright Anne M. Osdieck

Music for reflection