Reading 1 Is 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.
The corporal works of mercy. How nice they sound and how much we talk about them, but do we execute? These may seem difficult to execute, but maybe they look different in your life. “Share your bread with the hungry” could mean literally sharing food with people you may see on the streets, but it could have other meanings as well. It could mean those that are hungry for the Lord and do not know Him. Maybe you have to share your knowledge of the Word, Jesus’ Life, and what it means to be truly Christian to those that aren’t exposed to anything like it. It could also translate into more donating in general, not just food. Another example is for clothing the naked. It may actually be giving clothes from your back to those who do not have enough, or it may mean naked as in violated, exploited, or exposed. We could help them by speaking to them about their worth and how loved they are by the Lord. Even if they were the only people on the earth, Jesus would have still come down to die and resurrect just for them.
They look different in everyone’s life, but the following message is the same: giving and being selfless. The Scripture even says that your wounds will be healed, and your light will break forth. Therefore, we do not have to have it all together and everything figured out in order to help others. In fact, the Lord will aid us in giving of ourselves. Gloom will become like midday. That is powerful because many of us walk around with a dark cloud over our heads that never seems to go away. If all the negativity, worry, fear, anxiety, sadness, dark thoughts, and toxicity would leave us and become all positive, happy, and light, the world would be a different place. We can start by looking out and seeing who/what needs help where we can give.
Reading 2 1 Cor 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.
This reading really struck me on a personal level because all too often, I am way too focused on making my prayers super fancy and eloquent. I feel as though I have to know exactly what I want to say in a well-thought out manner, and I tend to lose my Center/Focus aka Jesus Christ. It talks about knowing nothing except Jesus Christ, and that was humbling and convicting. I have this lie in my head that I have to be extremely knowledgeable and have deep ideas that just flow out. I realize now that that’s vain, and the concentration is not even on Christ, but it’s on me when I listen to those thoughts. God just wants us to know Him, and it’s that simple. Everything else, He will help us with. It reminds me of, “The Lord is my Shepherd, there is nothing I shall want.” He is more than enough.
When we are sharing God’s Word and demonstrating our faith, it may be scary, especially in the world we live in. There will be weakness and fear, but God will provide. That is inspiring to me because I do not have all the knowledge and wisdom, but I do have the love and passion. Faith needs the Spirit and power of God, not necessarily a great speech and intelligence. People need to see Him in us, not to think we are amazing. This means anyone can be sent out and share the Gospel as long as we have more of Him, less of us.
Gospel Mt 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.”
Salt. In so many foods, necessary to preserve. The world needs us. We are seasoning the world with God, and without us, there would not be flavor. We cannot lose taste and must keep pushing on.
How about light. Do we let our light shine or is it under the bushel basket? Are we embarrassed or proud and excited about our faith? When it gets uneasy or uncomfortable, do we still stand with God or just cave in with the crowd? I know these are some areas I struggle with, but I know I want to be a light for others. I want to be on a mountain/lampstand, glorifying God, not worrying what anyone thinks or says. They may say we’re weird, strange, odd, or losers. Whatever it may be is merely darkness trying to dim the light, but never let that light get any less bright.