February 9, 2020: Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading: 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.”
Immediately following Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount and the listing of the Beatitudes, today’s Gospel has Jesus announcing (to his disciples) “You are the salt of the earth” and “You are the light of the world”. Perhaps, Jesus is continuing the Beatitudes and inviting the disciples (and by extension, us) to see that we are blessed when we are salt and when we are light. From ancient times salt was the most primitive of all offerings to the gods and the nation of Israel always added salt to their offerings to Yahweh. We know that it was also essential in food preservation and in enhancing food’s flavor. Jesus directs his followers to assume the nature of salt: to be a savory presence in the community, lending joy and happiness as they go forth and proclaim the coming of the Reign of God.
And, in calling disciples to be light, Jesus directed them (and us) to be a guide which illuminates and shows the way out of darkness. As a lighted lamp must be displayed and not hidden, Jesus’ followers must share the Light that is Christ with the world. He invites us to share in his mission and desires that we bring God’s blessings to others. In responding to this invitation, we offer thanksgiving and praise to God by our lives and God is glorified.
At bedtime this coming week, consider spending some time reflecting on an opportunity you had to be salt of the earth as you brought happiness, justice, care or concern to someone. And, recall the day’s events to identify when you had the opportunity to be the light that brought comfort and warmth to someone. Be thankful for the opportunities if you engaged them. Resolve to be alert for future opportunities, for they will surely come!