Today’s Gospel reminds us that it is essential for us as Christians to be seen and heard. We are not Christians just for ourselves. Christianity is meant to change the world. No matter what our state in life, we have a mission.
Jesus expresses this in the use of the images of salt and light. Salt had two purposes in ancient cultures. It was a purifier, as well a seasoning and a preservative. And at the time of Christ, it was a precious commodity. As Christians we are called to give a distinctive ‘taste’ to the world, working to renew it and to lessen its social and moral decay. The Gospel mentions that when salt loses its flavor it is worthless and good for nothing. So how do we keep our flavor? We are here (in the monastery) to be beacons of light, to keep the flavor in the salt because without that the Good News of Jesus Christ would be obscured by the darkness of evil and sin, ignorance and prejudice, selfishness and indifference.
“You are the light of the world,” Jesus tells us. How can that be? I am nothing special. It means that the light of the Good News of Jesus Christ is to shine out through us, through our words and actions, and in our daily lives. It is a light to be seen and not hidden. However light exposes us, it makes us visible and vulnerable. Many of us prefer the easy way out, to live in the shadows so that we will not be seen rather than be seen and expose ourselves to the possibility of rejection, persecution or even martyrdom.
Jesus also uses the image of a city built on a hillside. There is no way that you cannot see it. It can be seen from a great distance. He also speaks of a lamp on a lampstand. There is no point in lighting a lamp and then covering it up. The light of Christ that is in us wants to shine brightly. There is only one reason for us to be salt and light for others and that is so that people may be drawn to Christ. Our only aim in living out the Gospel is to point people in the direction of God who loves us and in whom is our ultimate happiness.
Photograph by Brother Brian. Excerpts from this morning's homily by Father Emmanuel.