In today’s gospel reading, Jesus says: “You are the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world”. He admonishes us to make sure that our light always shines before others. In the first reading, Isaiah showed us the practical ways of being the light and the salt of the earth by sharing our bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and homeless, clothing the naked, etc. Salt adds flavor to all our cooking and in the same way, we are to add flavor to our world attracting people to Christ through our good deeds of compassion and charity.
Salt preserves, purifies and cleanses and like it, we are to purify our society through our faithfulness to God. While salt does not send out an aroma like other seasonings and ingredients, without it, food is tasteless. Like it, we are to be silent workers in God’s world. Only our good works are to speak for us. The importance of salt comes from the fact that even the word salary is derived from it in reference to payments made to Roman soldiers in the past. Its universality challenges us to be open minded in bringing Christ’s love to everyone.
Remember, the easiest way for salt to lose its taste is to get mixed up with other things. In the same way, mixing our lives with things contrary to God will surely destroy our effectiveness before the world. That is the problem we the clergy are suffering today. Being faithful to God is the only way we can show light. Light brings safety, security and warmth. As lights, we are to bring warmth and God’s assurance to family, friends and neighbors.
To be light, our lives only need to be filled with God’s presence and the little things we do will continue to shine out. Think for example, the kind of light we will bring if, in the course of a discussion, because of our love for the other we change the subject if it starts veering into gossip, rather than straining our ears to say, “tell me more”.
Think about how a prayer before meal in the midst of friends can bring light to them. One day, a non-Catholic member of a tour group said, “every one of us has talked about the church we attend. But only you Catholics have given thanks to God at each meal.” That is how we show light by being the instrument of God’s presence!