Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
February 5, 2023
Our First Reading today always causes me to smile. Back in the 1970’s, I belonged to a Christian mime group. In white face make-up and gaudy suspenders, we acted out Bible stories for church groups around the Cincinnati, Ohio, area. The passage from Isaiah today about sharing with the poor, the homeless, those in need—was one of our favorite routines. I remember miming the act of feeding the hungry, befriending the oppressed, giving clothes to those who needed them, and then reacting in surprise at the prophet’s words “your light shall break forth like the dawn.” (I think we all leaped into the air at that point, a move that I wouldn’t try today!)
My point with all this? Well, the prophecy from Isaiah made for some concrete pantomime gestures because the prophet describes such concrete, practical actions to begin with. It’s what Jesus is getting at in the Gospel when he urges us to be “salt for the earth” and “light for the world.” Christianity is more than words—it’s a life lived out in concrete action. People need to see our faith expressed in our deeds, especially on behalf of those in need. It’s better than a sermon—or maybe even better than a pantomime by a troupe of Gospel clowns.