February 9, Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time: City on a Hill, a Sunday Scriptures blog

The light image from last Sunday, and from our recent Advent and Christmas seasons, continues to inspire us today, but with an interesting U.S. twist. “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 the house” (Matt 5: 14-15). In 1630, John Winthrop used this “city on a hill” passage in a sermon he gave the Pilgrims. Winthrop envisioned the Plymouth Colony becoming an example to England and to the world of a truly godly society. Even though that never happened, that famous phrase “city on a hill” was later used to inspire us by both President Kennedy and President Reagan. Within a few years, demographers tell us, more than half the world’s population will live in cities. According to Vatican II, the place where non-ordained lay people — most of us — become holy is in the world, that is, in cities. And the work, the apostolate of us non-ordained people is supposed to be transforming this urban place where we find ourselves by infusing it with Jesus’ kingdom values. How do we do that? Hmm. In this still new year of 2020, how can I be more involved in my city, so that the light of Christ I carry in me can help light this urban space?

– Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia

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