Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
February 05, 2023
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.






Keep your family safe, O Lord, with unfailing care,
that, relying solely on the hope of heavenly grace,
they may be defended always by your protection.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen. (RM)

Set us free, O God, from the bondage of our sins, and give us
the liberty of that abundant life which you have made known
to us in your Son our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns
with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and
for ever. Amen. (BCP)

Faithful God,
you have appointed us your witnesses,
to be light that shines in the world.
Let us not hide the bright hope you have given us,
but tell everyone your love,
revealed in Jesus Christ the Lord,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, forever and ever. Amen. (BCW)

First Reading Isaiah 58:7-10

Thus says the LORD:
Share your bread with the hungry,
shelter the oppressed and the homeless;
clothe the naked when you see them,
and do not turn your back on your own.
Then your light shall break forth like the dawn,
and your wound shall quickly be healed;
your vindication shall go before you,
and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard.
Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer,
you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am!
If you remove from your midst
oppression, false accusation and malicious speech;
if you bestow your bread on the hungry
and satisfy the afflicted;
then light shall rise for you in the darkness,
and the gloom shall become for you like midday.

Responsorial Psalm 112:4-5,6-7,8-9

R. The just man is a light in darkness to the upright.

Light shines through the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious and merciful and just.
Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice.

He shall never be moved;
the just one shall be in everlasting remembrance.
An evil report he shall not fear;
his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.

His heart is steadfast; he shall not fear.
Lavishly he gives to the poor;
His justice shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory.


He has distributed freely, he has given to the poor; his justice endures for ever and ever. V/. His seed shall be mighty upon earth; the descendants of the righteous will be blessed.

Second Reading 1 Corinthians 2:1-5

When I came to you, brothers and sisters,
proclaiming the mystery of God,
I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom.
For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you
except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling,
and my message and my proclamation
were not with persuasive words of wisdom,
but with a demonstration of Spirit and power,
so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom
but on the power of God.

Gospel Acclamation


Praise the Lord all nations; praise him in unison, all peoples.

Gospel Matthew 5:13-16

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
but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
You are the light of the world.
A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.
Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket;
it is set on a lampstand,
where it gives light to all in the house.
Just so, your light must shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds
and glorify your heavenly Father."

Reflection Questions

  1. What light have you shed abroad in the world of late?
  2. What flavoring have you given to the world lately?
  3. How might others give glory to God on your account?

Catena Nova

Let your virtue, the perfection of your life, and the performance of good works inspire those who see you to praise the common Master of us all. And so I beg each of you to strive to live so perfectly that the Lord may be praised by all who see you. By the perfection of your lives attract to yourselves the grace of the Spirit, so that the Lord of all creation may be glorified, and so that we may all be found worthy of the kingdom of heaven (St. John Chrysostom)

The Lord has already called his disciples the “salt of the earth” because they seasoned with divine wisdom the hearts of the human race which had been made tasteless by the devil. Now he also calls them the “light of the world.” For, illumined by his very own self who is the true and eternal light, they too become light within the darkness. For since he himself is the sun of righteousness, he rightly also calls his disciples “light of the world.” Through them, as if through shining rays, he poured the light of his knowledge on the entire world. For by showing the light of truth, the Lord’s disciples made the darkness of error flee from people’s hearts. (St. Chromatius of Aquileia)
Sometimes the flame of a lamp can leap up and burn furiously. At other times it burns gently and quietly. Sometimes its light leaps up and emits a great radiance. At other times its small flame gives out only a dim light. This is how it is with the lamp of grace in the soul. It is always lit and giving off illumination, but when it burns with special radiance, it is as if the soul were drunk with love for God. At other times, as God himself decides, the light is still there but it is only a dim glow. (St. Macarius the Great)
God is in love with us and keeps using you and me to light the light of love in the world. Let His light of truth be in your life so that God can continue loving the world through you and me. Put your heart into being a bright light. (St. Teresa of Calcutta)
One of the main functions of salt is to season food, to give it taste and flavour. This image reminds us that, through Baptism, our whole being has been profoundly changed, because it has been "seasoned" with the new life which comes from Christ (cf. Rom 6:4). The salt which keeps our Christian identity intact even in a very secularized world is the grace of Baptism. Through Baptism we are re-born. We begin to live in Christ and become capable of responding to his call to "offer [our] bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God" (Rom 12:1). Writing to the Christians of Rome, Saint Paul urges them to show clearly that their way of living and thinking was different from that of their contemporaries: "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and pleasing and perfect" (Rom 12:2). (Pope St. John Paul II)

We no longer have to ask ourselves if we are approaching a state of emergency. We are in the midst of it, right here and now, and we expect the future to mirror the past.... It is in the midst of this dark world that we are invited to live and radiate hope. Is it possible? Can we become light, salt, and leaven to our brothers and sisters in the human family? Can we offer hope, courage, and confidence to the people of this era? Do we dare break through our paralyzing fear? Will people be able to say of us, 'See how they love each other, how they serve their neighbor, and how they pray to their Lord?' Or do we have to confess that at this juncture of history we just do not have the needed strength or the generosity? How can we live in hope so as to give hope? And how do we find true joy?  (Henri Nouwen)

Salt is an element that, while it gives flavour, preserves food from alteration and corruption — there were no fridges in Jesus’ time! Therefore, the mission of Christians in society is to give “flavour” to life with the faith and love that Christ has given us, and at the same time to keep away the polluting germs of egoism, of envy, of malicious gossip, and so on. These germs ruin the fabric of our communities, which instead should shine as places of hospitality, of solidarity and of reconciliation. To fulfil this mission, it is necessary first of all that we ourselves are liberated from the corrupting degeneration of worldly influences, which are contrary to Christ and the Gospel; and this purification never ends, it goes on every day! Each one of us is called to be light and salt in the environment of our daily life, persevering in the task of regenerating the human reality in the spirit of the Gospel and in the perspective of the Kingdom of God. (Pope Francis)


Pass the Salt and Keep the Lights On

            "Archbishop Chaput's Opposition to the Pope (January 16, 2023; Where Peter Is).  "Second Canadian woman accuses Vatican Cardinal Mark Outlet of misconduct" (January 19, 20023; National Catholic Reporter).  "Controversial Dominican priest to lead October retreat for bishops at start of synod" (January 23, 2023; Catholic News Agency).  "Seattle Archdiocese announces sweeping plan to consolidate parishes" (January 22, 2023; Catholic Culture).  "Losing their religion: why US churches are on the decline" (January 22, 2023; The Guardian).   "How the Anglican Communion is undergoing a loosening of the ties that bind" (January 19, 2023; The Tablet).
You get the picture — and it isn't pretty.  Not a day goes by when I don't come across some depressing news about the church in both the Catholic and secular press.  Mind you, there is good news but it often goes unreported.  "No news is good news" goes the old saying, true in more ways than one. And while a lot of good things go on in church circles, it's the bad news that makes headlines.  So I would like to redress the imbalance and mention some good news locally that rarely makes it into the paper, on TV, or online.
News about people whose faith seasons the world with salt, and sheds light in the darkness of many lives. Let's start with Shepherd's Home, begun in 2005 and spearheaded by members of  St. Joseph's parish in Penfield with the assistance of Incarnate Word Episcopal Church.  Their mission statement reads: "Rooted in faith and love, we provide comfort and compassionate care to members of our community with a terminal illness, in a way that cherishes the dignity of each individual and meets their physical, emotional and spiritual needs.  We provide support to families and friends and foster community acceptance that dying is an integral part of living."
I have long felt the hospice movement in such homelike settings is one of the unsung services  church affiliated groups have been providing for some time. Other local examples include: Isaiah House (1987) in Rochester; Sunset House (1990) in Irondequoit; Aurora House in Spencerport (2010); the House of John in Clifton Springs; Mount Carmel House in Hilton (1984) and Laurel House in Newark (2019). My own mother died in the last of these and I am forever grateful they were able to care for her in for the last few days of her life.
 The there's Margaret Home in East Rochester, a former convent building, which several diocesan priests were instrumental in bringing about. Their mission statement describes the facility as follows: "A residential empowerment program that revives hope for mothers who maintain a limited or broken support network and who struggle with the often-invisible wounds of trauma. Dedicated to serving women through all stages of pregnancy and early motherhood, we provide healing and unconditional love in a comfortable home and caring communal environment that nurtures an empowered spirit and a healthy lifestyle. For each of our mothers, we create a self-directed action plan along with the structure and resources to enable the achievement of personal, educational and professional goals that can lead to independence for a woman and her family."  LikewiseBethany House in Rochester, a Catholic Worker House of Hospitality, also housed in a former convent, "provides temporary housing, assistance and support to women and children in Rochester, NY afflicted with homelessness and instability from domestic violence, incarceration, addiction, mental health, physical illness, or poverty."
Finally, there's Saints Place, in operation for almost 25 years, with  parishioners from St. Louis in Pittsford and St. John of Rochester in Fairport heavily involved in its founding and its ongoing services. Their mission is "to 'Welcome the Stranger' by providing clothing, furniture, school supplies, household goods, tutoring and scholarships to newly arriving refugees in Rochester, New York."  They were in the news recently with a television segment on new initiative where the former convent at Our Lady Queen of Peace in Brighton is being renovated to house Ukrainian refugees. 
So sometimes good news does make the news!  But I fear that, outside of their congregations, staff, volunteers and clients, the good such places do in every denomination — not to mention countless food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters, endless clothing drives, bake sales and other fund raisers for various causes — is rarely heard about.
And maybe that's the way it should be.  After all,  salt works best when you really can’t taste it  --  salt flavors food, not food, salt.  The same goes for light.  It lets you see other things, not itself.  So let the press do its usual thing.  The salt of the earth and light of the world (G) are more like the little bit of bread and wine we’re about to offer from which we receive grace that enables us “to joyfully bear fruit for the salvation of the world” (Prayer after Communion) -- in a world that grows ever darker and ever more stale.

Intercessions (Joe Milner; The Sunday Website)

For the Church: that we may be a light to our world and that our words and deed may be instruments of healing and transformation for our society.

For courage: that we may salt and awaken our society from complacency as we bring the insights and challenges of the Gospel into our neighborhoods, workplaces, and public discourse.

For all who reach out to the poor and those in need: that they may see the face of Christ in those whom they serve and never grow weary in offering love and compassion.

For those who speak prophetic words: that their cry may be like salt, raising our awareness and stirring our desire for peace, justice and solidarity.

For a healing of the wounds of selfishness and violence: that God will bring wholeness to our hearts and spirits as we attend to the pain and suffering of others.

For greater care for our common home: that we may grow in our respect for the earth as God’s gift to us and work to preserve it for future generations.

For world leaders:  that they continue to search for ways to heal ancient wounds and find ways of promoting peace and justice for all.

Heavenly Father,
you have called your Church
to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
Give us vigorous faith and a love that is genuine,
so that all may see our works
and give you the glory.
We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever.
(ICEL; 1998)

Offertory Antiphon


Offertory Hymn

“Light and salt” you called your friends,

 On the hill, your city:

 Let your light shine out for men,

 Skill and peace and pity.

 But if salt lost its taste

 And the light its fuel,

 And the city shuts its gates,

 Whence can come renewal?

 Each in his own place receives

 Gospel, guidance, duty,

 Daily bread and daily work,

 Toward the kingdom’s beauty;

 Yet the world’s distracting scene

 Mocks our lofty vision,

 Life’s complexities confuse

 Conscience and decision.

 Men dispute and nations fight,

 Each all virtues claiming;

 Your disciple errs and falls,

 False opinion framing.

 Judge me, Lord, and plead my cause,

 Light and truth now send me,

 Lead me in your righteousness,

 Chasten and befriend me.

Communion Antiphon

Closing Hymn (Bernadette Farrell)

Longing for light, we wait in darkness.
Longing for truth, we turn to you.
Make us your own, your holy people,
light for the world to see.

Refrain: Christ, be our light! Shine in our hearts.
Shine through the darkness.
Christ, be our light!
Shine in your church gathered today.

Longing for peace, our world is troubled.
Longing for hope, many despair.
Your word alone has power to save us.
Make us your living voice.

Longing for food, many are hungry.
Longing for water, many still thirst.
Make us your bread, broken for others,
shared until all are fed.

Longing for shelter, many are homeless.
Longing for warmth, many are cold.
Make us your building, sheltering others,
walls made of living stone.

Many the gifts, many the people,
many the hearts that yearn to belong.
Let us be servants to one another,
making your kingdom come.