We are the Salt and Light of the World!

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We are the Salt and Light of the World!
The scriptures, make various uses of salt imagery ranging from the images of seasoning, preserving and purifications to the images of death, desolation and curse. Job asks “Can something tasteless be eaten without salt...? (Job 6:6). Paul admonishes the Colossians, “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned, as it were, with salt” (Col. 4:6). As an element of purification, at Jericho, Elisha “went out to the spring of water and threw salt in it and said, ‘thus says the Lord, “I have purified these waters” ‘“(2 Kings 2:21).
On the other hand, the Salt Sea (Dead Sea), the Valley of Salt and the City of Salt all connote death, desolation, despair and deserts. “All its land is brimstone and salt, a burning waste, unsown and unproductive, and no grass grow in it.” (Deut 29:23). Jeremiah associates images of bushes in deserts, stony wastes, wilderness and a land of salt with a person who turns away from God (Jer 17:6).
The importance of the metaphor of light is conspicuously clear in the bible. Light brings enlightenment and development. Light gives life and protection. The absence of light entails darkness and doom both in sightseeing and intellectual and economic developments. God Himself is light. Therefore, both the biblical positive and negative imagery of salt and light goes a long way to help us understand Christ’s metaphor of “salt of the earth” and “light of the world” in the Gospel of today. The big questions are: how do we become the salt of the earth and light of the world? When do we lose our saltiness and lightness?


The first reading of today answers these questions when it says “Share your bread with the hungry, and shelter the homeless poor, clothe the naked.... Then will your light shine like the dawn....” (Is 58:7-8). Actions they say, speak louder than voices. Piety without mercy is a dangerous spirituality. When Jesus tells us that we are the light and salt of the world, he is invariably saying that we as baptised Christians have an important role to play in the world through our good deeds. We lose our saltiness and lightness when our piety and faith do not reach out to others (the world). We are the salt and the light of the world insofar as we are genuine witnesses of the Gospel and our words match with our actions. Otherwise we become dangerous, obstacle, and darkness to the message of the gospel.
Our light will shine not when we blow the trumpet of how pious and committed we are in Church’s activities but when we see that truth is told, that justice is done, when we exercise mercy and show compassion and love: in fact, when we are good ambassadors and witnesses of the Gospel wherever we are. Like Pope Paul VI said “the first means of evangelization is the witness of an authentically Christian life, given over to God in a communion...and at the same time given to one's neighbour with limitless zeal. [This is because] "Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses." (Evangelii Nuntiandi 14).


From Deacon Nicholas


Newsletter - 8-9 Feb 2014