Eternal Repercussions

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Tuesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time 

Matthew 5:13-16

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.”

Opening Prayer: I believe that you are here with me now, Lord. I believe that you are looking upon me with love, that you desire to be with me. I too desire to be with you. I want to offer you my time and presence as an act of love and worship. I need your grace, Lord, and you deserve my praise. Please send your Holy Spirit to quiet my soul so that I can hear what you want to tell me today, and to strengthen me so that I can respond to your words with courage and generosity.

Encountering Christ:

  1. Salt of the Earth: In Jesus’s time refrigeration had not yet been invented. The most common way to preserve meat and other perishables was through using salt. Salt not only gave flavor to food, but also preserved it. As Jesus continues unfolding his core teachings at the beginning of the Sermon on the Mount, he tells us that we, as his followers, are meant to be– are called and equipped to be–the salt of the world. Filled with his truth and grace, we bring zest and meaning to life wherever we go. And yet, Jesus warns us that it is possible for us to lose sight of this mission, of this identity we have in him. When salt loses its taste, it becomes utterly useless. Jesus is pointing out that what really makes our life worth living is our Christian identity and mission. If we let that get watered down, if we compromise that, we lose everything that really matters. Is my Christian identity and mission the central reality of my life, the force behind what I think, say, and do? Or have I perhaps relegated my faith to one sector of my life? What helps me keep my saltiness? What influences in my life tend to weaken and water down my Christian identity?
  2. Light of the World: Original sin disrupted God’s plan for this world. Evil, suffering, death—these were not part of God’s design for the human family. Original sin obscured the human mind and darkened the human heart. Jesus came to roll back that darkness and redeem us from sin. When he reveals to his disciples that they–that we–are the “light of the world,” he is entrusting us with the mission to spread this redemption. The candlelight service on the Easter Vigil, when the light from the Easter candle is passed on to every person in the church, one by one, until the whole space is illuminated, is a symbol for the Church’s mission in the world as a whole. Each one of us receives the light of Christ–what he has revealed as true about God, the world, and human happiness, as well as the grace to live in harmony with that revelation–and is called and equipped to pass that light onto others. Does my life shine with the light of Christ? What inhibits it from shining? What helps it shine more? In what ways am I spreading that light to others? In what ways is God asking me to spread that light?
  3. Our Mission Matters: God didn’t have to make us partners in his redemption. He could have reserved to himself all the work involved in his plan of salvation. But he didn’t. He chose to make us his coworkers, his ambassadors, his companions in the great adventure of building up an eternal Kingdom. Why? God created human nature. He knows the needs and desires of our hearts more deeply than we ourselves know them. And he knows that one of our deepest needs is for authentic meaning. We are spiritual beings, even though we live in a material world. And so merely material kingdoms–material achievements, pleasures, accumulations–will never satisfy us. By inviting us to be partners in building up his eternal Kingdom, he actually opens up the possibility for our decisions and actions in this world to impact the world to come. That can give real, everlasting meaning to our lives here on earth. When we faithfully engage in our mission to build up Christ’s Kingdom, to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, we are doing things that will reverberate into eternity. That is something that can satisfy the desires of our heart. 

Conversing with Christ: Thank you, Lord, for inviting me to be your coworker. Thank you for giving me the grace to be light and salt for this needy world. Thank you for giving true, lasting meaning to my life. So often I get caught up in the demands of life on earth and lose sight of the bigger picture. Help me to know how to be salt and light in the midst of my daily activities. Give me a heart like yours, which was always looking for ways to bring people closer to God and put them on the road to eternal life. I want to live my life as your ambassador. I want to invest my time, talent, and treasure in building up a Kingdom that will have no end.

Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will consciously embrace my call to be salt and light for the world by proactively performing some kind of work of mercy, either a corporal work of mercy (feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, housing the homeless, visiting the sick, visiting the imprisoned, burying the dead, giving alms to the poor) or a spiritual work of mercy (counseling the doubtful, comforting the sorrowful, instructing the ignorant, admonishing the sinner, forgiving injuries, bearing wrongs patiently, praying for the living and the dead).

For Further Reflection: Read Go! 30 Meditations on How Best to Love Your Neighbor as Yourself.

written by Fr. John Bartunek, LC.

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