Lector's Notes

by Gregory Warnusz

First Reading

Former exiles returned to Jerusalem were disappointed that it was taking so long to restore their city. Isaiah told them it was their fault because they were not sharing. Then he gives them an alternative.

LECTORS: This reading suggests that disappointment is not an acceptable excuse for failing to care for those worse off than ourselves. God’s demand that we share with the hungry and homeless is uncompromising. So you should read this with great authority in your voice. And notice this structure: The imperative, “Share your bread …”, The promise, “Then your light shall break forth …”, The condition, “If you remove from your midst oppression, …”, The promise, “then light shall rise from you … By alternating your tone of voice, make this alternating structure stand out in your proclamation.

Second Reading

Saint Paul had given an eloquent speech to the sophisticated people of Athens, and failed miserably. In his next stop, Corinth, he vowed to get out of God’s way and preach only Christ crucified. The results were very different.

LECTORS: This reading demands a much more personal, humble tone than the imperatives of Isaiah. It should sound almost apologetic. When you set out to read this to the assembly, make your intention like Paul’s, that your proclamation will help dispose the people to a stronger faith. And having said that, I should spend no more of my human eloquence talking about your human eloquence. “


As Jesus continues his Sermon on the Mount, he uses two metaphors to teach his followers their special role in the world.

SOURCE: Lector’s Notes

Isaiah 58:7-10

Photo by Ed Yourdon – A woman helping a homeless man in New York City – Uploaded uploaded by Gary Dee on Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 2.0.
1st Reading Video Connections
Helping Homeless is a "Catholic Responsibility"
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Helping Homeless is a “Catholic Responsibility”

Currents correspondent Michelle Powers visits the homeless shelter at St. Andrew Avellino Church in Flushing, which is doing its part to provide a place of rest for those who have nowhere else to call home.

Pope prays with the homeless
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Pope prays with the homeless

Pope Francis met with homeless men and women at the Vatican Nov. 11, 2016.

Helping the homeless pleases the Lord

by Fr. Eamon Tobin

This reading is from Third Isaiah (chps. 56-66), a post-exilic prophet. The people of Israel who had been taken into exile have just returned. Their land is devastated and their religious life is in chaos. To seek the Lord’s favor, they begin a series of penitential fasts. But it seems their fasting is not the type that pleases the Lord. If they want to please God, they need to practice a religious piety that leads them “to share their bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and homeless, clothe the naked.” They also need to “remove from their midst false accusations and malicious speech.” If they do these things, their “light shall break forth like the dawn and their wound shall quickly be healed.”

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. — Isa 58:7 (NAB)

PS 112:4-5, 6-7, 8-9

The just man is a light in darkness to the upright

The theme of light and righteous living is echoed in this Psalm.


Psalm 112, as well as 111 and 119, are the only Psalms that are acrostic by phrase in the Bible; that is, each 7-9 syllable phrase begins with each letter of the Hebrew alphabet in order. The psalm details the blessings received by those who remain close to God by obedience to the commandments. Among their blessings are children (Ps 112:2), wealth that enables them to be magnanimous (Ps 112:3, 5, 9), and virtue by which they encourage others (Ps 112:4). The just person is an affront to the wicked, whose hopes remain unfulfilled (Ps 112:10). The logic resembles Ps 1; 111. (Source: NAB notes).

“Light shines through the darkness for the upright; he is gracious and merciful and just.” — Ps 112:4 (NAB)

1 Corinthians 2:1-5

Christ on the Cross –a sculpture in rock salt –Jozef Markowski, Wieliczka Salt Mine, Poland, 101 meters under the surface.
2nd Reading Video Connections
Wieliczka Salt Mine: An Underground Monument in Krakow, Poland
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Wieliczka salt mine: Underground Salt Cathedral of Poland
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Wieliczka Salt Mine: Underground Salt Cathedral of Krrakow Poland

The Wieliczka Salt Mine is one of the most amazing sites you will ever in Krakow, Poland. The salt mine opened in the 13th century and has produced table salt continuously until 2007. The mine’s attractions include dozens of statues and four chapels carved out of the rock salt by the miners. Often referred to as “the underground salt cathedral of Poland,” the mine was placed on the original UNESCO list of the World Heritage Sites in 1978.

Paul preaches a crucified Christ

by Fr. Eamon Tobin

Corinth has many learned people who may have expected Paul to possess great oratorical skills. But Paul lets his audience know that he comes to them, not with fancy verbal tricks, but with humility, fear and trembling. He trusts, not in his own preaching gifts, but in the power of the Holy Spirit to touch hearts. Preaching a crucified Christ may be a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who believe, it is the power of God.

I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified.— 1 Cor 2:2 (NAB)

Matthew 5:13-16

Death Valley’s Badwater Salt Flats at Twilight

Christian witness

by Fr. Eamon Tobin

Commenting on this Gospel, Fr. Flor McCarthy writes:

Matthew has already introduced Jesus as the light of a darkened world (4:12-16). Now the function of enlightening and guiding a morally confused humanity is shared with his disciples. Salt and light are powerful images. In the ancient world, salt was one of the most important necessities of life, especially for preserving and seasoning food. So too was light for obvious reasons. Both images are making the same point: Christians are called to bear witness to Christ before unbelievers through their good deeds. When the disciples stop witnessing through their deeds, they become as useless as salt that has lost its taste or a lamp that doesn’t give light.

Used with permission granted by Dominican Publications, http://www.dominicanpublications.com. New Sunday and Holy Day Liturgies, by Flor McCarthy.

You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. — Mt 5:13a, 14 (NAB)

World Youth Day 2002

DID YOU KNOW: Matthew 5:13-14 became the theme of World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto: “You are the salt of the earth … you are the light of the world”. It was the last WYD attended by Pope John Paul II.

Gospel Video Connections

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Remembering WYD 2002

10 years ago, Fr. Thomas Rosica was the National Director of World Youth Day Toronto. Hear the inside story of his experience serving this historic event.

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Salt & Light Media CEO Fr. Thomas Rosica, CSB recalls his memorable experiences up close with Pope John Paul II as the Pontiff’s health was declining during World Youth Day Toronto in 2002.

Reflection Questions

by Fr. Eamon Tobin

1. The first reading speaks about “sharing bread with the hungry and clothing the naked.” If there is a food pantry in your area, do you bring food for the needy? If there is a thrift store in your area, do you donate clothes and other stuff? If you do not support a local food pantry or thrift store, why not?

2. Paul went to the Corinthians “in weakness and in fear.” Have you ever had that experience of approaching someone in weakness and in fear? If so, how was that experience for you?

3. Who is a ‘salt of the earth’ type of person in your life? What does it mean to you concretely to be salt and light in your environment?

4. Name one thing today’s Gospel says to us that we disciples of Jesus need to heed and act on.

Call to Action

Look in your closet and see what the Holy Spirit may lead you to take to the local thrift store.


Jesus, you call us to be salt and light to the world. Help us to not lose our flavornor allow us to hide our light. Help us daily to give glory to your heavenly Father. Amen.

Sunday Reflection Excerpts

Illumination or light pollution?

EXCERPT — Sometimes, it’s a question of acting yourself into a new way of being. If you are getting caught up in the divisions of church and society, if the newest electronics are becoming a prime object of your attention, if achieving or maintaining status is fueling your ambition, be careful. You are a city on a hill. The tragic irony is that everybody can see through people whose self-worth depends on such things.


What does it mean to be salt, light, a city built on a mountain?

EXCERPT — Today’s readings remind us that, as baptized Christians, we can’t hide. God — who is a God of justice and mercy — had expectations of Israel. The Israelites weren’t off the hook regarding how they were to act, and neither are the followers of Jesus. God has expectations of us. People see us, they observe what we do and how we act. What are they seeing? We can’t be followers in name only.


How well does our worship lead people to take the Gospel to the streets?

EXCERPT — Does your parish shine as a light in your neighborhood? Are people drawn to your community of faith by what they see you doing in the area? Perhaps even more basic, does your worship enlighten those who participate? Does it help them understand and embrace the mission that Christ has entrusted to us? Does it fire up parishioners to go forth and spread the good news of God’s mercy? Does it make a difference in their daily lives?


Faith in God requires us to act

EXCERPT — In today’s society, in which so many people are poor, suffering, vulnerable and disenfranchised, we must heed Isaiah’s call to action. Praying for people is a good thing to do but is insufficient by itself. Isaiah suggests tangible actions we should be taking. Importantly, Isaiah connects caring for one another with God’s care (Is 58:8-9). By fostering societies in which people support one another, we emulate God, who cares for all of us.


Christian Faith and Politics

EXCERPT — Jesus seems aware that we may be tempted to hide our faith. We might repress it in our public lives, presuming that it has nothing to offer the “real” world of politics and economics. Or we may just keep it under a basket—a “private” matter that makes no difference to society… If we are honest with ourselves, we will discover that our Christian faith functions little if at all in our political life. The talk is talked, but the walk is not walked. Lip service is paid, but almost every other kind of service is paid to our cultural dogmas.


Our need to share our riches with the poor

EXCERPT — We need, always, to be giving some of our possessions away in order to be healthy. The poor do need us, but we also need them. They are our passports to heaven, as Jesus puts it so clearly when he tells us we will be judged by how we gave to the poor. And they are also our passports to health. Our health depends upon sharing our riches. — Ron Rolheiser


Faith Sharing Handouts

Ascension Catholic – PDF Index
Commentary Text: ©2019 Fr. Eamon Tobin, Commentaries & Faith Sharing PDF Handout. Songs, images, scripture verses, and other material at bottom of page curated by LectioTube.com. They do not necessarily reflect Fr. Tobin’s opinions or preferences. Excerpts from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission.
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