The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany: Year A

Salt and Light

  • Isaiah 58:1-9a (9b-12)
  • Psalm 112:1-9 (10)
  • 1 Corinthians 2:1-12 (13-16)
  • Matthew 5:13-20

Jesus tells his disciples that they are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. He has come to fulfill the purpose of the law and prophecies. Only those who give their lives to God’s will can enter the Kingdom of Heaven.

God’s people can give witness to God’s grace and power by leading righteous lives. The disciples are to live even more righteously that the pious scribes and Pharisees. Like a city set on a hill or a lamp on a stand, Jesus’ followers must show forth their good works to the glory of God.

The “salt and light” teaching of Jesus wasn’t flattery – it was a warning to his disciples that they could go bland and tasteless, dim and dark – like flat salt or a lamp that has run out of oil. Staying connected with the Source of “salt and light” is the key to effective discipleship. You cannot have the Kingdom of God without God.

John P. Meier states, “Matthew stresses that the disciples’ light, which is meant to be seen by all . . . can be smothered only by the disciples’ own failure . . . The disciples can cause the failure of their mission if they ignore others and live only for themselves.”

Ministry is bringing Christ’s light into the world in the daily life of each Christian and in the corporate witness of the church.

Questions for reflection:

  • In Matthew 5:13, Jesus tells his disciples that they are to be like salt. Think about the particular qualities of salt. How are the followers of Jesus similar to salt? What do you think Jesus means when he speaks of salt losing its taste? What happens when we lose our saltiness, and how can it be restored?
  • In verses 14-16, Jesus says that his disciples are to be a light to the world. What special responsibilities are inherent in carrying the light?
  • Consider the words in all of today’s readings. What insights have you gained about faith discipleship from them?
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About Sharon Ely Pearson

Editor and Christian Formation Specialist for Church Publishing Incorporated
This entry was posted in Epiphany and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany: Year A

  1. Excellent teaching! Gets down to the heart of the Gospel as usual.

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