Scripture: 1st Reading: 2Cor1,18-22; Resp. Psalm: Ps119,129-135; Gosp. Accl.: Mt5,16; Gospel: Mt5,13-16
Our Lord in today's gospel compared those who believed in Him to be salt and light. Salt and light were two very important elements to the ancients. By calling His disciples salt and light, our Lord was saying that believers in Him were very important in any human community they found themselves. They were the little, unnoticed players who were called to give a bite to everything. They were called by their baptism to make the needed difference.
By using these two imageries to describe the life and role of the believer, our Lord was only saying that every believer is useful, of great value, and of great worth. The believer may appear inconsequential, but he gives foundation to life. No one eats salt. No one takes too much of salt. A little salt is enough to prevent decay. A little salt is enough for seasoning. A little salt is enough to change taste and add flavour.
Salt gives taste therefore. Salt gives flavour. Salt purifies. Salt normally does not lose its salt. Salt cannot become "unsalted". But salt can become false if it is adulterated. In this way, though it still carries the properties of salt, the fact of its adulteration makes it useless for human consumption. This us because the adulteration weakens the taste of the salt. That is what our Lord meant when he said the salt has lost its saltiness or its taste and is only good to be trampled underfoot by men.
Our Lord also says today that believers are lights. We must not forget that light was especially associated with Yahweh, the God of Israel. Yahweh is called light and help; and as such, Israel is called to walk in His light (Is2,5). You are not hidden
The two elements that our Lord used to describe the life of the Christian are elements that normally are not noticeable, that it, they are seen only by virtue of the effects they produce. It is also instructive to note that only a very small quantity of either would bring about the needed transformation. A small flicker of candle is what a darkened room needs. A small amount of salt is what is needed for the flavour of food to come out.
The message of our Lord today is abundantly clear: every believer is called upon into active engagement and encounter with the world. The believer is called upon to be in the world as light and salt, but paradoxically not to be of the world. The believer is like a house built on a hill top that cannot be hidden.
Our Lord then called all His followers to enter into a dialogue with humanity. He challenged us to let our lights "so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." Our call is therefore to be change agents, to become more and more like our Redeemer, whose death brought about our freedom from sin and death.
Being salt and light means being true to our callings as Christians. Part of being true to our calling is to develop the ability to say yes when we mean yes and no when we mean no. St. Paul in today's First Reading reiterated that in Christ Jesus, it is always "yes" because all the promises of God find their fulfilment in Him. That "yes" to the will of his Father was what led Him to accepting death, even death on a cross.
Our lives are to add value and meaning to the lives of other people, especially those whom the good Lord allows to cross our paths. We are called upon to add flavour to their lives. The life of St. Anthony of Padua bore eloquent testimony to his total identification with our Lord's message today. Anthony was a young man who fell in love with the Lord Jesus. He met our Lord and that meeting totally transformed the life of St. Anthony.
He became such a fiery preacher of the gospel and countless miracles were done by him. May he obtain for us steadfastness and commitment to the mission entrusted to us. Today is my feastday. Kindly remember me and other "Anthonies" in your prayers today for steadfastness and more commitment to the mission of Christ. God bless and keep you in His love.
Let us pray: "Almighty everlasting God, who gave St. Anthony of Padua to your people as an outstanding preacher and an intercessor in their need, grant that, with his assistance, as we follow the teachings of the Christian life, we may know your help in every trial." Amen.
May the Living Word of God find a true dwelling place within our hearts and souls today and always. Happy feastday.