Let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16
you have appointed us your witnesses,
to be a light that shines in the world:
let us not hide the bright hope you have given us,
but tell everyone your love,
revealed in Jesus Christ the Lord,
who lives and reigns with you
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God,
for ever and ever. Amen.
- Isaiah 58:1-9a
- Psalm 112
- 1 Corinthians 2:1-13
- Matthew 5:13-20
- Deut 10:12-22
- Psalm 119:1-8
- 1 Corinthians 3:1-9
- Matthew 5:21-37
“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned?
“You are the light of the world. Your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”
Unsalted popcorn and an electrical power outage are all that we need to appreciate Jesus’ message in today’s Gospel reading (the continuation of the Sermon on the Mount). Through the images of salt and light, Jesus impresses upon his listeners the vocation of Christians: As I am salt and light to the world, so you, as my disciples, must reflect me to the world.
Salt and sun, of themselves, are not good for very much and can even be harmful. Their value is realized only when they mix or interact with other things. Their addition brings out the fullness of whatever they come in contact with.
A handful of salt brings out the natural flavour in every kind of food, from filet to popcorn. The four ounces of salt in our bodies enable our muscles to contract, our blood to circulate, our hearts to beat. Salt purifies and softens, cleans and preserves. Salt is an important element in making glass, building roads, manufacturing soap and shampoo, bleaching paper and cooling nuclear reactors. Salt is used both in freezing and in de-icing. There are over 14,000 uses of salt – but of and by itself, salt is useless. Eating a handful of salt does not taste particularly good – it might even make you sick to your stomach.
Light’s true beauty is realized only when we look away from its source and toward what it illuminates. Light transforms the cold terror of night into the warm assurance of day. Light enables us to discover, to study, to discern, to behold the beauty of our world and the wonders of God’s creation. Light warms, nurtures, sustains, reveals, cheers.
Salt is perhaps the humblest of all chemicals; light is among the most generous of all physical properties.
To be “salt for the earth” is to bring Christ’s compassion and hope into our homes, workplaces, schools and communities; our simplest acts of charity can be a “light” for our world and unmistakable evidence of the presence of God among us.
Jesus’ call to his followers to be “salt” and “light” for the world is a challenge to live the Gospel we have heard and profess to believe. Until our hopes for justice become our work for justice, until our prayers for peace and unity in the world are first lived in our own home and community, until our professed belief in God as Father of all affects every one of our relationships, we are as good as flavourless salt, we are as useful as light hidden away under a basket. © Connections/MediaWorks
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