Salt and Light
The theme of light appears again in our readings for today. Light is elemental to our living. In the book of Genesis, the first thing God does is create light. Our scriptures end with God giving light to all people forever in the book of Revelation. In the light, things that are hidden by the dark become visible. Light is good for our living. It enhances our ability to see. We see not the light but what it illuminates. Salt is similar in that regard. Salt enhances our ability to taste. Used properly we taste not the salt, but rather the food on which it is used. Both of these ideas of salt and light refer to actions that that Isaiah describes as actions we might take, to “. . . remove from your midst oppression, false accusation and malicious speech” to “bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted . . .” (Is 58: 9-10). When we do these things, our light “shines,” and we add flavor to and “season” life.
We are called to be salt and light for the world. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops reflects on this notion in its document Communities of Salt & Light which is about the social mission of the Church. It states, “one of the most encouraging signs of the gospel at work in our midst is the vitality and quality of social justice ministries in our parishes. Across the country, countless local communities of faith are serving those in need, working for justice, and sharing our social teaching.”
This is what we are called to as disciples and as communities of faith. We are called to light up the dark corners of the world and add flavor to it by our compassion for others. These actions create a community of human connectedness. They create a place that gives witness to God by how we engage our brothers and sisters in need. Jesus tells us “Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father” (Mt. 5: 16).
And so, we are called to place our own personal lamps on a lamp stand, to use our gifts to lift oppression and satisfy the afflicted. We are called to give to others with what we have been given; to offer the love of God, so that the light of Christ will burst forth like the dawn. So the question for us to reflect on during the week is: How ARE we reflecting the light of Christ to become salt for the world and a light to the nations?