WITH ST. MARY'S
THE FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Spread the gift of the Gospel through love.
FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Gift-giving is a central theme of Christianity: the Father gave His only Son for us, the Son gave up His life for us, we are asked to give our entire selves back to God, and we are asked to give our entire selves for the sake of our neighbors. The purest expression of love is to give and expect nothing in return, and in the context of Christianity, we are not just gift-givers but also gift-receivers. The gift we have received, namely Jesus Christ in both his body and in his Word, is not meant to be retained or hidden, but to be shared with the entire world. We are loved because we have received from God. We love by giving the gift of God to our neighbor and the gift of ourselves back to God.
READ THIS SUNDAY'S MESSAGE
We are not just recipients of a gift from God; we are also gifts ourselves, instruments that God has chosen to express His love to others besides us. Hopefully, you might consider the people who you care about most in your life as gifts to you. God placed them in your life and they have made you a better person. You are also a gift to other people, but part of this immense honor is a certain amount of responsibility - you must make sure that you are the best gift you can possibly be. In this Sunday’s Gospel, Christ calls his followers the “salt of the earth.” Christ is sharing his followers to the world, which includes you; but when you go out into the world and you have lost your flavor or your zeal or your passion for the message you were sent out to share, you become unpalatable. It does not matter what words come out of your mouth or what you claim to be preaching, your words will not be received if it is not backed up by an unquestionable authenticity and love for your role as both gift and gift-giver. As we live in a post-Christian society, we can see first-hand how many in the world today are rejecting the gift of Christ; we know that it could not possibly be because Christ is not worth having or receiving. The problem lies in the way in which we share the gift. If we do not share Christ with both love (expressed in kindness and truth) and passion (expressed in our excitement and our constant desire to live by his example), he will not be received by those with whom we want to share him. People respond to passion and love because it is written in our nature as human beings. We receive this from God Himself: in the book of Revelation, Christ instructs John of Patmos to share a message to the Church in Laodicea, saying, “I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot… So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” The best gifts, those which are most memorable, are those with flavor, with passion, with zeal, with love. Love is not boring. It is not flavorless and it cannot be expressed with any amount of indifference. Love can be both hot and cold because it is an expression of care, but it is never lukewarm. Our gift of love to the world, the gift of Christ, must never lose its flavor.
Family activity to do at home: With so much talk about salt and flavor in this Sunday's Gospel, this is a perfect time to gather with your family in the context of a meal to share this very simple but very necessary message: if we are going to be disciples of Christ, we must not lose our flavor. To really emphasize this message, use this Sunday as an opportunity to participate in a special meal with your family; consider what everybody's favorite food is and incorporate it into the meal. Ask yourselves why these foods are your favorites; chances are, it is because of their flavor. Speak about how our method of sharing Christ with the world must be expressed in the exact same way. Part of every meal, especially those meals that are most special, should be prayers of gratitude for the gifts God gives to us. Below are prayers that can be used before and after a meal in the current liturgical season.