Monday, 7 February 2011

Salt and Light

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.”
Matt 5:13-16

Most of us will be familiar with these words of Jesus in the gospel of Matthew.  But, how often do we apply them to ourselves? What about the taste and textures of my life. What of those things in my life that were so full of vitality and flavour that now seem so bland and dull? What has changed?

On the 5th Sunday of Ordinary time we are presented with some stunningly beautiful passages of scripture that speak of faith in an incredibly practical way. In the first reading from the prophet Isaiah (58:7-10) the prophet speaks of the attributes of faith and the relationships that faith leads us into. Faith filled people share their food with those who hunger, faith filled people clothe the naked, faith filled people give shelter and safety to those who are homeless and frightened. The prophet is challenging us to see that there is a consequence to our faith. Faith brings dissatisfaction with the status quo. Faith means working towards the Kingdom of God now.
Matthew elaborates on this theme in the gospel. One Lent I gave up seasoning. For forty days I had nothing but bland food. It was horrible. I remember how I savoured the flavours of my first meal on Easter Day. I remember how my taste buds danced as I identified each herb, spice and individual flavour as I ate my meal. It was pure delight. Salt has many qualities, not only does it give flavour, it is also a preservative. Food lasts longer when salted. If salt looses these qualities it is worthless. In the same way, if light is eclipsed then nothing can be seen and the light is worthless.
We live in our world that needs us to be salt and light. We need to flavour our living with the new prophetic relationships that Isaiah proclaims. Our concern for one another is the greatest manifestation of faith. In the dark shadow heavy places that abound in life, we need to bring the light of faith so that we, and others, can see with greater clarity.  When we as disciples of Jesus, share our light in the witness of our lives, that witness can puzzle people into wonder.
“Through this wordless witness, these Christians can stir up irresistible questions in the hearts of those who see how they live. Why are they like this? Why do they live in this way? What or who is it that inspiresthem? Why are they in our midst? Such a witness is already the silent proclamation of the Good News and a very effective one. Here we have an initial act of evangelisation.”
Pope Paul VI – Evangelisation in the Modern World ( 21)

Folloe the links to see how your faith can make a difference

Young people - some gap year opportunites -

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