Salt of the earth and light of the world
Jesus is the first to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. He appoints the disciples to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world also.
First, salt cleans and preserves food. It also seasons it, giving it taste. Hence, to say Jesus is salt is to say he cleanses human life and keeps it from spoiling. He makes it delightful besides, lest we find it as Job did. He lamented, “Is not man’s life on earth a drudgery? Are not his days those of a hireling?”
Secondly, light is for lighting, helping us to see and do things at night. And it provides orientation when it is dark. Needless to say, this is what Jesus means to human beings.
And what Jesus means to us is also what he expects his disciples to be. He certainly makes it clear that, unless we carry out our mission, we will not be good for anything.
Yes, Jesus entrusts to us a mission: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” He does not want us to lock ourselves up in in any way (EG). He commands us to go out of our security and comfort.
And he breathes on us precisely to equip us for our mission. The Holy Spirit turns us who cling to our cloisters, structures, rules and habits into a “Church which goes forth.”
Indeed, there is a demand on us to “go forth to offer everyone the life of Jesus Christ” (EG 49). We have to dare “to reach all the ‘peripheries’ in need of the light of the Gospel” (EG 20). And we will let the Spirit move us to go forth to other towns. We will “seek those who have fallen away, stand at the crossroads and welcome the outcast” (EG 24). Likewise, we will be open to those at the greatest risk and will welcome refugees.
And we cannot falter, or we will be like the salt that has gone tasteless or a lamp that is under a bushel basket.
But true Christians cannot but stay excited. That is because they recognize that their works rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God. Truly zealous, they leave no room to laziness or to indiscreet zeal (CRCM XII:11). Hence, they do not lose hope even when everything appears to be a lost cause. They know that God will make the light of the merciful and just shine in the darkness. They are certain about this because of the one who, giving his body up and shedding his blood, draws everyone to himself.
Lord Jesus, you want us to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world: grant that, like you, we may season and enlighten.
5 February 2017
5th Sunday in O.T. (A)
Is 58, 7-10; 1 Cor 2, 1-5; Mt 5, 13-16