( A commentary on Matthew 5: 13-16 )
Jesus said to his disciples: “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. 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 in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” (Matthew 5:13-16)
I love the imagery in today’s Gospel. It is vivid. It is descriptive. It applies to all of us.
It is especially apt in today’s world and it is especially needed.
Do you like salt? Do you use it in your cooking? Most probably you do. A little bit of salt can make a big difference between tasty or bland food.
In a similar way, Christ came to give meaning to all experiences, no matter how bland or bitter, giving us his life to the full and instilling in us his joy. Christians, marked in this way by Christ’s mercy, are meant to bring this flavor, personality, joy and life to the environments we inhabit.
Our flavor must be distinctive so that we can season the world and change its dynamics. We know that being followers of Jesus means that we have to follow his teachings. And oftentimes his teachings run counter to what is expected and popular. When we run into someone who demeans other people because of their race or their religion, we must be the person that speaks up and says, “I don’t accept that. What you’re saying is neither true nor right.” When we encounter those who think that violence is the solution, we have to be people who propose, “Let’s look for another solution.” When people cling on to hurt and hatred, we have to be bold enough to say, “The way forward is by mercy and forgiveness.”
Now, of course, there is no guarantee that people will understand or accept our beliefs or our convictions. But that is not what Jesus asks us to do. Jesus understands that the only one that can change anyone’s mind is that person him or herself. What we are called to be is to be salt of the earth, to season our environment with Jesus’ teaching so that the world tastes different than it tasted before.
When we do that, we come into the meaning of light. There are two fundamental purposes for light. The first is to help people to see. The second is to warm. Christ has done both for us.
He has come and mercifully taught us in such a way that we may walk as children of the light and be true children of the light. So, the Christian life is supposed to be luminescent, like the lights on a landing strip at an airport on a foggy night that help planes land. In the midst of many walking in valleys of darkness, Christians are called to burn with the light so that others can follow us in following Jesus the Light of the World.
As he warmed us by his love, we in turn may warm others by the fire of divine love. When we approach Jesus and when others approach us, we and they should feel like someone cold approaching a lit fireplace.
In a world of bad news, you and I can be part of the good news of Jesus Christ. Affecting others by the kindness and warmth we bring to friend, neighbor and stranger.
The question is always there. if it ever became a crime to follow Jesus, would anyone find enough evidence to convict you?
Prayer of The Day
“Lord Jesus, you guide me by the light of your saving truth. Fill my heart and mind with your light and truth and free me from the blindness of sin and deception that I may see your ways clearly and understand your will for my life. May I radiate your light and truth to others in word and deed”
The message: “that the world is basically good, that God is there and is good. That it is good to live and to be a human being!” is needed! When our joy comes from trust in God and not mere optimism, when our joy comes from confidence in God and not mere positivity, then we can discover the greatest mystery, the ability to feel joy even in the midst of suffering. So, dig deep and find that “primordial trust” in God, and have the “courage to rejoice!” so that you may always have a reason ready to explain the “hope that is in you” to others. (1 Peter 3:15)