Jesus said to the crowds, “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”
Today’s Gospel is a short one compared with that of last Sunday. However, it continues to follow on the theme of Beatitudes by using three images: salt, light and a city built on a hill.
In each of the three images, there is a tension. In the image of salt, the tension is the taste and tasteless of the salt; in the image of light, the tension is the use and wrong use of light; and in the image of a city, the tension is city on earth and city in heaven. The tension in each image is about sin and grace.
How do I perceive the verse, “You are the salt of the earth”? Jesus is right when saying this because we are supposed to touch others lives and bring sparkle to their lives in our family, our work place, our parish, our ministry, our society, our friends and our country.
If we look closer, it not hard to find that Jesus himself is the salt of the earth as he brought humanity to the Jewish religion of his time by befriending with “sinners” and out cast.
Being the salt of the earth is a grace. But, if the salt has lost its taste, it is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under-foot, Jesus warns us. The warning comes because the saltiness cannot be restored! When things are beyond restoration or repair, it means hopeless. When a person acts like this, what kind of hope that we have of him/her?
Jesus also tells us, “You are the light of the world”. It implies that we are the light and the world is dark. Can we be good people to a dark world? Or, we just put the light under the bushel basket for our own use? What deters us not to put it on the lampstand so that it gives light to all in the house? No mater how we try to hide the light, Jesus reminds us that it like a city built on a hill cannot be hid. Thus, he encourages us to be bolder not only to give light to our house (the Church and the community), but let our light shine before others. The purpose of such a bolder move is that people may see our good works and give glory to our Father in heaven.
The images and massage of today’s Gospel are about how we can bring happiness and hope to others. It is also about the true humility of us when we live out the true colour and taste of follower of Jesus. Amen.