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Salt and Light
Tuesday of the Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
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: Jesus, thank you for your holy words that guide us in our journey as Christian disciples. Help me to bring your goodness to the world around me and glorify you in all my thoughts, words, and actions.
- Salt for Taste: As Christian disciples, part of our role is to make the world better for everyone. We bring good cheer, virtue, and works of mercy with us into the places where we live and work. Salt is a seasoning that brings out the flavors of different foods. It allows us to taste more of the food’s natural flavors. It makes good food taste even better. By adding our “salt” to our interactions with others, we can help them become the “best versions of themselves,” as Catholic author Matthew Kelly would put it. We should strive to live a life of virtue and gently encourage others to do likewise. Being cheerful, trustworthy, helpful, and kind are ways we can bring “salt” to the world around us. Even in the way we speak to one another, we can be salt of the earth: “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you know how you should respond to each one” (Colossians 4:6). Salt was often used in the ancient world to draw out impurities and keep meats from decaying. When our speech is “seasoned with salt,” it means that it is pure and life-giving, having no impure overtones or gossip that tears people down.
- Light for Truth: Jesus also calls us to be “the light of the world.” Light shines in the darkness, illuminating the truth. Jesus is the primary “light of the world” (John 8:12); our lights are lit from his. As Christian disciples, we have the honor of being the bearers of Christ’s light of truth and honesty in even the darkest situations. Our light is placed on a lampstand so that we are not light for ourselves but for the world. Our light brings Christ’s saving message to all people: “I have set you to be a light for the world, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth” (Acts 13:47). We can live as light-bearers through striving to bring the light of Christ to each person we meet by being examples of honesty, goodness, and kindness. More importantly, we share Christ’s light by proclaiming the saving message of the Gospel.
- All for God’s Glory: Being salt for taste and light for truth is part of our mission as Christians disciples. We do not do this for our own glory, just so that we can be seen by others as good people. The Christian life is not a self-improvement program (although we do grow in holiness as a result). The goal is to give glory to God. We want people to see us living our faith in word and speech as well as in deed and truth (cf. 1 John 3:18) in order that they may recognize Christ in us. We do not have to rely on ourselves for our salt and light, because Jesus is our source for these. By the grace of the sacraments and our encounters with him, Jesus Christ dwells in us. It is his grace and light, not our own, that radiates to others (cf. Galatians 2:20). The sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit make it possible to be salt and light in the world: wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, fear of the Lord, and piety. These all work together to help us bring Christ’s salt and light into our homes, churches, workplaces, and societies. The world is a better place to live because of Christians who live out this call to glorify God in all that they do.
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, help me to be your salt and light in the world. Please send your Holy Spirit to guide me in all my thoughts, words, and deeds so that I reflect your love, goodness, and truth in all that I say and do. Help me to recognize any bad habits I may have that may cause my salt to “lose its flavor,” such as gossiping or using impure speech. Give me the courage to be your light in this world and not hide its brilliance. Help me see the beauty that your light shining through me brings to others. May all that I do be for your greater glory.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will prayerfully consider if I have any bad habits that are causing my salt to lose its flavor or my light to shine less brightly.
For Further Reflection: Read this article from America: The Jesuit Review: “Christians must be salt and light. How? Pope Francis has a simple answer.”
Written by Carey Boyzuck.