View all Gospel Reflections |
Alive with Christ
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
“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.
Opening Prayer: Jesus, teach me what it means to be salt of the earth and light for the world in my daily life.
- Salt of the Earth: Beyond adding flavor, salt has tremendous value. It maintains our health and regulates body fluids, aiding nerve and muscle function. Its preservative and healing value has saved lives as a disinfectant and has been used as a sacramental to purify and repel evil spirits. Salt serves its purpose. However, if used or stored in high quantities it leads to death, as seen from the Dead Sea. The Jordan River gifts the Dead Sea with fresh water, only to be saturated with highly salty waters and trapped because the Dead Sea offers no outlet. Hence, all life dies. Without flavor or in overabundance, salt is worthless. What is the “salt” that Jesus invites us to be? A testimony of the kerygma which flavors, nourishes, and heals. Saint Paul VI in Evangelii Nuntiandi, # 27 and Saint John Paul II in Redemptoris Missio, #44 remind us of the importance of proclaiming the initial and essential gospel message: In Jesus Christ salvation is offered to all. How do I proclaim the kerygma? How does my life “salt” the earth?
- Being Light for the World: Isaiah reminded the people of his times that giving to those in need has the power to heal and bring light. “Then will your light shine like the dawn” (Isaiah 58:7-10). But what are we to give so that our light will shine? Saint Paul shares a clue. “During my stay with you, the only knowledge I claimed to have was about Jesus as the crucified Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:1-5). Saint Paul preaches the kerygma, salvation won by Christ through his Passion, Death, and Resurrection. Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Anyone who follows me will have the light of life” (John 8:12). To be a light in this world is to follow a crucified Christ. Nowhere does our light shine more than in the testimony of faith that endures suffering with hope in the final triumph of Our Lord over all evil. How does my light shine out to others in all circumstances of life?
- For God’s Glory: Jesus surprises us. We are scolded if we are proud or vain and yet he says that others must see our good deeds. If our minds and hearts are constantly evangelized by the gospel message our good deeds need not be prideful or vain, but will proclaim the essential truth of God’s saving power. As Saint Irenaeus said, “The glory of God is man fully alive!” Let us be alive with Christ so as to proudly evangelize souls for God’s glory.
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, implant in my heart a deep conviction of your saving grace present through faith in you. Let my daily actions incarnate living faith so I may be salt and light for others and you may be glorified by my good deeds.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will reflect on how my thoughts are evangelized by the good news of salvation.
For Further Reflection: Redemptoris Missio #44, by Saint John Paul II, http://w2.vatican.va/content/john-paul-ii/en/encyclicals/documents/hf_jp-ii_enc_07121990_redemptoris-missio.html.
Jennifer Ristine is a consecrated woman of Regnum Christi who is dedicated to spiritual and faith formation through teaching, conferences, writing, and spiritual direction. While serving in Ancient Magdala she wrote Mary Magdalene: Insights from Ancient Magdala