Fr Thomas’ Homily for the 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

You are the Salt and the Light

Cashless cards for poker machines is a proposal hotly debated currently in NSW.  On one hand, freedom to enjoy gambling as a leisure activity is part of the human right.  Clubs availing facilities and making a business out of it is providing job opportunities.  The clubs share the proceeds from the pokies with charities in the form of grants. Thus, the gambling industry is not as bad as it sounds.  But on the other hand, there are many very sad stories of problem gamblers becoming misfits in the society and ruining their own lives. Addiction to gambling have been causing increased poverty, homelessness, family breakups, violence, and suicides.  Anyone who loves his fellow human beings cannot let this problem perpetuate.  Hence a number of measures were taken, including confidential counselling facilities for those who are affected by the vice of gambling.  Still the darkness and gloom surrounding the poker machines have not disappeared. Therefore, the proposed cashless cards for gaming should be evaluated on its effectiveness to promote greater hope, joy, and fullness of life.  If it is helping the problem gamblers not to get out of control, it should be a welcome thing.  After all, our Christian faith and charity demands such a positive response.

Jesus said, “‘You are the salt of the earth.  But if salt becomes tasteless, what can make it salty again?  It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out to be trampled underfoot by people.  You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden….. your light must shine in the sight of men, so that, seeing your good works, they may give the praise to your Father in heaven.” (Cf Mt 5:13-16).  When it comes to the crunch of the matter, being the salt of the earth and the light to the world require proper discernment.  Response to the government proposal for cashless cards for pokies is just one such example.  In every social issue that affects the dignity of human life, you and I are called to discern God’s will for the right response.  In the face of such challenges, we cannot be recluse.  We need to be actively promoting goodness.  Let our lives be witness to God’s goodness.