Fifth Sunday In Ordinary Time Year A February 6th, 2011

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Dear Friends:

Both salt and light are necessities of life, they are vitally important for humanity. Jesus said to his disciples, “You are the salt of the earth; you are the light of the world”. What was Jesus saying when he used these two images? He was telling his disciples that they have a vital role to play in society through their good deeds.

When religious practice is divorced from life a vital element is missing. It is like salt that has lost its taste, or a lamp that no longer gives light. But when religious practice leads to good deeds, a very effective witness is given.

Christ asks us, his disciples, to be ‘the salt of the earth and the light of the world’. What does this imply? It doesn’t mean that we have to leave our jobs, rush out, and get involved in all kinds of social work. It means that we are called to practice Christianity, not just in church, but out in the world in whatever situation we happen to find ourselves. Here are some examples:

(1). If I’m a teacher, what do people expect from me? That I teach well, and that I refrain from showing favoritism. If a Christian teacher should show any kind of favoritism, it should be towards the children who find learning difficult.

(2). If I’m a doctor, what do people expect from me? That I would treat all the sick alike with attention and care.

(3). If I’m in business: what do people expect from me? That I am honest and that I give value for money and not take bribes.

(4). If I’m an employer, what do people expect from me? That I pay a fair wage and create decent working conditions for my employees.

(5). If I’m a worker, what do people expect from me? That I know my job and do it to the best of my ability.

(6). If I’m a parent, what do my children expect from me? That I be there for them. That I put them before everything else, including my career.

We could multiply the examples and still not cover everything. Each of us must look at our own situation and ask ourselves how we can practice Christianity––how we can be Christ-like in that particular situation. How we can be ‘salt’ and ‘light’ among the people we meet every day, and in the humdrum situations that occur.  There is a tendency in most of us to take big matters seriously and neglect small ones. Here is where corruption begins. Here is where the light goes out, and the salt loses its saltiness. There is only one remedy. To set aside, for the time being, the big things, and to take seriously the small things, to turn one’s attention to the task of the moment, right now.

As Christians we have a very positive role to play in the world. A Christian ought to be a life-preserver and guide for his neighbour. The authenticity of our lives is the best witness to Christ.