Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

02-05-2023From Fr. Antony's DeskFr. Antony Arockiadoss

Dear Family!

The 40th Catholic School Week in our country aims at ‘faith, excellence and service’ as it has always been over the years. Catholic education has always had a great impact in shaping and developing our society. Our Bishop in his support of Catholic Education pointed out the Wall Street Journal’s test results over the past few years for Catholic School students are higher compared to public schools.

“Even during the pandemic, our students thrived. We need to share a lot of good news with our people.” (Bishop Checchio) “Today there are 5,938 Catholic schools across the USA, educating a total of 1,688,417 children, saving tax payers 22.7 billion dollars a year.” (Fr. Roger Landry). It is a great time to pray for our own school in Phillipsburg and its needs & challenges.

The readings focus on the witnessing power disciples. Why do we proclaim the gospel? Why do we need be a witness of the gospel? The Catechism teaches us, “The fidelity of the baptized is a primordial condition for the proclamation of the Gospel and for the Church's mission in the world. In order that the message of salvation can show the power of its truth and radiance before men, it must be authenticated by the witness of the life of Christians. "The witness of a Christian life and good works done in a supernatural spirit have great power to draw men to the faith and to God.” (CCC 2044)

As our Catholic education is certainly a great witness of Jesus himself, the readings point us to other areas of witnessing and being disciples of Jesus. Salt and light are powerful images of the ancient world representing necessities of life in preserving and seasoning food, Jesus invites us to immerse ourselves in doing good. Through good deeds we could be most effective evangelizers of the Word. When we stop witnessing through our good deeds, we stop to evangelize; like the salt being useful, and like the lamp that gives light.

“The effects of Christ’s light must clearly be seen in the goodness of your lives! You must be examples of a faith that is rooted in a personal relationship to Jesus, lived in full communion with the Church. Your faith must be clearly seen in your obedience to the Gospel, in your lives of charity and service, and in your missionary zeal towards those who still do not believe or who no longer live the faith they received at Baptism. Take to heart Saint Paul’s lesson: be examples of patience and charity towards all people, mindful that if you have not love, then you are nothing at all (Cf. 1Cor. 13).” (Pope John Paul II’s Homily in 1993). Cornelius Lapide writes: “Salt excites thirst. So the Apostles have excited a thirst for heavenly things. Hear St. Hilary, ‘The Apostles are the preachers of heavenly things and, as it were, sowers of eternity: they bring immortality to all upon whom their speech is sprinkled.’”

Fr. Antony