Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
February 9, 2020
Salt. Google tells me that each gallon of sea water contains 1/4 pound of salt and that if all the oceans of the world would dry up there would be a block of salt with a land mass greater than the continent of Europe. We need the exact percentage of salt in our bodies for our muscles to contract and our hearts to beat and our blood to circulate. In the United States we use twenty-five million tons of salt every year; most of it on days like this for our roadways.
Light. It travels at 186,282 miles per second but we really don’t know how. It is difficult to say what light is because light is essentially more primitive than any of the terms that might be used to explain it. It’s complicated: it’s all about waves and photons and electromagnetic spectrum and refraction and dispersion and intensity.
Amazing stuff, salt and light. And Jesus didn’t know any of this when he said: “You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world”. He didn’t even have Google to consult. He just knew that salt brings out the best in food and light helps us to see things as they really are. Maybe that’s all we need to remember today, also.
Light helps us to see clearly, as things really are. Light enables us to study, to discover, to behold the beauty of our world and the wonders of God’s creation. Light warms and nurtures and sustains life and reveals wonder. Light literally cheers us up.
So, when Jesus says we are the light of the world, that means something! As people of faith, we are about positioning ourselves in this world to show off the goodness of others and help them to see their beauty. It is to live so as to transform the darkness of other’s hatred and help them to see by the light of acceptance. It is to love in such a way that others discover that God loves them, too. It is to help someone see how beautiful they are no matter how ugly they feel. As the light of the world we help others find God in themselves.
We are the salt of the earth. Like salt, what we do and who we are and how we live must always be to bring out the best in others. If we use our faith or our religion simply to cast guilt or shame around like they were our personal weapons, that does nothing to bring out the best in others. Salt unveils what is hidden; it brings out a flavor that is already there. As the salt of the earth, we must find what is good in everyone, always making it our goal to help them discover that goodness that lies within, to see past imperfections and see goodness, no matter how hidden.
We the salt of the earth. We are the light of the world. We have been given that gift and responsibility by Christ himself. It is why we exist as a church, as a believing body of Christ. It is why we feed the hungry and give home to the homeless. It is why we educate our youth and take care of our elderly. It is why we use our talents and share our precious hard-earned money. We are, or at least can be, the most powerful force in this community and in the world. It is why we find every possible way we can to pass on that faith, this God-given way of life: not for our sake, but for the sake of the world. Everything we do, every program we offer, every liturgy we celebrate, every person that is sheltered or family that is fed, every child that is educated and every adult that is enlightened, every person that is welcomed and every song that is sung is all about bringing others to know Christ as we know Christ.
It’s as simple as that.