The Fifth Sunday of the Year

Is 58:7-10; 1 Cor 2:1-5; Mt 5:13-16 (year a)

‘Share your bread with the hungry, and shelter the homeless poor. Then will your light shine like the dawn, and your wound be quickly healed over.”

The prophet Isaiah understood the relief of poverty as faith’s most fundamental witness. His words were addressed to a people who had experienced overwhelming deprivation. Their restoration and healing would be complete only when they, in their turn, became the living lights of God’s abiding care for the poor and needy.

When the prophet spoke of the coming Messiah who would redeem a broken world, he described his mission as reaching out to the poor, feeding the hungry, clothing the naked and setting free the oppressed.

His vision was in stark contrast to many of today’s underlying attitudes that would prefer to seal borders to the stranger and build walls rather than bridges. For many, charity is perceived as an optional extra rather than the fundamental sign of our communion with a generous God.

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