“You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hidden.” (Matthew 5:14)
In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus refers to his listeners as “the salt of the earth and the light of the world.” As followers of Jesus Christ, we exist to make the world a better place. In describing us as salt and light, Jesus quickly adds that we would be suitable for nothing by failing to live up to these qualities.
Suppose your presence in your family, community, workplace, society or group does not make life sweeter for others or contribute to preserving moral values. In that case, you have lost your “taste” as salt and your “brightness” as a light. Have I been a source of joy (sweetness) for others around me? Can I say I have positively influenced others to love God and keep His commandments?
On the other hand, have I made life difficult for others? Have I been a source of scandal to those who look up to me as a role model? Have I shown a bad example or corrupted the minds of the young? Jesus describes us as cities built on a hill, meaning there can be no hiding place for us – even in the most secret places, we must continue to emanate light. We cannot afford to “go with the flow” at any time.
According to Marianne Williamson: “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frighten us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world.
“There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to manifest the glory of God within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our light shine, we unconsciously permit other people to do the same. Our presence automatically liberates others as we are liberated from our fear.”
Have you sometimes caught yourself asking: “What is the point? Why do I need to do the right thing? Everyone else is doing something else.” Perhaps, that is why God brought you there. Consider the salt needed to make a whole pot of soup sweet. Consider the size of the light bulb compared to the size of the entire room. Be the salt, be the light; yes, they would fight you, but, in the end, you will be victorious. Live an upright life so that you would be the reason for others to praise God.
As St. Paul teaches us in today’s first reading, you will let your light shine by avoiding double standards. Do not try to be on both sides. Do not be a “Yes” and “No” person. Stop trying to serve two masters. Don’t be a “saint” in public only to become a “demon” in private. Don’t be a preacher of justice and fairness only to deny your employees of their wages. Don’t condemn corrupt politicians only to accept your share of their loot joyfully. Don’t say “yes” to God’s blessings only to turn around and say “no” to his commandments.
Let us pray: Almighty Ever-Living God, free me from hypocrisy. Grant that I may be salt and light to the world. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Bible Study: 2 Corinthians 1:18-22, Ps. 119:129-133,135, Matthew 5:13-16)*
@Rev. Fr. Evaristus E. Abu