5th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Salt and Light of the World
The role of every Christian in the world is defined in today’s gospel–salt and light of the world. Jesus speaks very clearly to remind us who we are and what we should be in this world: We are the salt of the earth and light of the world.
Now, what do these mean? In ancient times salt was highly valued. Salt is connected to three special qualities:
a. Salt gives flavor to things.
In ancient times it was the ultimate seasoning that gave a taste to food. Without salt, food would be tasteless… walang kalasa-lasa! Christianity is to life what salt is to food. Christianity should lend flavor to life. As salt, we are called to be source joy(not Kill Joys), disciples who are loving, kind and living at peace with everybody. In a world full of crisis, Christian should remain serene, a diffuser of hope. The sad thing is that so often people have connected Christianity with the opposite. We Christians at times take the flavor out of life.
b. Salt in the ancient world was the common preservative. Since there were no refrigerators yet as we have them now, salt was used to keep things from going bad. Food was preserved and kept fresh by salt. So then salt preserves from corruption. If the Christian is to be the salt of the earth, he must have an antiseptic influence on life. We must be the cleansing and preserving elements of the society – a person whose presence defeats corruption – moral corruption, corruption of family values, even corruption in the government and the society at large. A Christian if he has to be the salt of the earth is exhorted today to preserve values of decency, sharing, honesty and fair play.
c) Salt is connected with purity – the whiteness of the salt makes the connection easy. In the olden times, it is said that the Romans held that the purest things of all are the salt because they came from the purest of all things – the sun and the sea. A Christian, if he has to be the salt of the earth should cling to the standard of absolute purity in all aspects of his life.
The Lord calls us to be the light of the world. As a light, we are called to show the way. Without light, we bump into each other and fall into the ditch. As the light of the world we can guide people and say to them: here is the road, take it. Here is a danger, avoid it.
My brothers and sisters, if there are so much darkness and bitterness in the world today, maybe because we as Christians have failed in our job to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. But starting today we can decide to make a difference. We can decide to light a candle rather than curse the darkness. Even the smallest candle helps in a world of darkness. Even a small grain of salt can make a difference.