Light Should Shine—Salt Should Be Tasty
What is striking in today’s message is how much trust Christ puts in us, perhaps more than we do in him. He entrusts to us the mission of being his light shining in the world, the salt that preserves and spices the world with the aroma of the gospel, the mission of being a city of light that attracts people to the Lord. What a responsibility! Today, let us ask Jesus to kindle his light in us.
First Reading: Let Your Light Shine On All People
The prophet tells us today: God will be near to you and you will shine with his light if you are near to the needy around you.
1 Reading: Isaiah 58:7-10
Thus says the LORD: Share your bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless; clothe the naked when you see them, and do not turn your back on your own. Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your wound shall quickly be healed; your vindication shall go before you, and the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer, you shall cry for help, and he will say: Here I am! If you remove from your midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech; if you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted; then light shall rise for you in the darkness, and the gloom shall become for you like midday.
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 112:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
R. (4a) The just man is a light in darkness to the upright. or: Alleluia.
Light shines through the darkness for the upright;
he is gracious and merciful and just.
Well for the man who is gracious and lends,
who conducts his affairs with justice. R.
He shall never be moved;
the just one shall be in everlasting remembrance.
An evil report he shall not fear;
his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD. R.
His heart is steadfast; he shall not fear.
Lavishly he gives to the poor;
His justice shall endure forever;
his horn shall be exalted in glory. R.
Second Reading: I Bear Witness to the Crucified Christ
St Paul reflects on his mission: it is not by philosophising and making speeches that I preach Christ but by bearing witness to the crucified Lord.
2 Reading: 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
When I came to you, brothers and sisters, proclaiming the mystery of God, I did not come with sublimity of words or of wisdom. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear and much trembling, and my message and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of Spirit and power, so that your faith might rest not on human wisdom but on the power of God.
Alleluia: John 8:12
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
I am the light of the world, says the Lord;
whoever follows me will have the light of life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel: Salt and Light of the World
According to Jesus, our task in the world is to live according to the Gospel, so that God’s light can shine in the world.
Gospel: 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.”
In today’s Gospel, Jesus uses a series of images to define the disciples and their mission. He shows them primarily as the salt of the earth (v. 13).
The rabbis of Israel used to say: “The Torah—the holy Law given by God to his people—is like salt and the world cannot live without salt.” Taking up this image and applying it to the disciples, Jesus knows how to use an expression that may sound provocative. He does not deny the conviction of his people who believed the sacred Scriptures “salt of the earth,” but says that also his disciples are, if they assimilate his word and let themselves be guided by the wisdom of his beatitudes.
The second function assigned to the disciples is that of being a city set on a hill (v. 14).
Even today, the look of one who walks the streets of Upper Galilee is attracted by the numerous villages, located on the tops of mountains and along the densely wooded hills. It is impossible not to notice them, and especially in the spring, when the crimson anemones covering the countryside around them, seem delightful. The archaeological excavations almost always prove that the summits, on which they arise, were inhabited since the most remote times.
The disciples are called to do good without expecting any praise, admiration, “their right hand should not know what the left is doing” (Mt 6:3). Praises should not be addressed to them but to God.
The invitation is not to conceal, to veil the most challenging parts of the Gospel message. The disciples do not have to worry to defend or justify the proposals of Jesus. They just announce it, without fear, without fear of being ridiculed or persecuted. It will be for people as a lamp “shining in a dark place until the break of day, when the morning star shines in your hearts” (2 Pt 1,19).
May our love be like salt
that makes life tasty and worthwhile.
May our Christian living be a light
to those who live in darkness.
May our Christian communities
be cities of light to be seen from afar
as signs that God lives and works in his people.
And may God bless you all for this mission:
the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. R/ Amen.
Go now, and let the light of Christ shine on all those who live around you. R/ Thanks be to God.