From the Desk of Fr. Thomas…
Dear Friends in Jesus Christ,
The Readings today challenge us to be the light and salt to the world. It should be our mission, our duty, and our commitment. In our first reading, the Lord God through His prophet Isaiah gives us examples of how we are to allow the light of God to shine through us. “Share your bread with the hungry, sheltering the oppressed and the homeless; clothing the naked when you see them, and not turning your back on your own. Then light shall rise for you in the darkness, and the gloom shall become for you like midday”. Using two simple metaphors of salt and light in today’s Gospel, Jesus outlines the role of Christians in this world. As a symbol of purity, salt was the common ingredient in sacrifices offered to God by Jews and pagans. In the ancient world, salt was the commonest of all preservatives, used to prevent the putrefaction of meat, fish and fruits in pickles. Salt lends flavor to food items and was used to season and preserve food. A light is something which is meant to be seen. A lamp or light is a guide to make clear the way. A light serves also as a warning (e.g., red traffic lights which tell us to halt when there is danger ahead. Finally, light, particularly the sun’s, gives warmth and heat. As the salt of the earth, the Christian must have a certain antiseptic influence on life and society, defeating corruption, fighting against injustice and making it easier for others to avoid sin.
The first role of Christians is to be salt in the world. As salt preserves foods, we have to preserve the religious Faith, Christian cultural values and moral principles, which Jesus has given us, and we need to work at reconciling the quarreling factions in families and communities. As the salt of the earth, we also have to add flavor to the lives of desperate people through outreach programs, to give meaning to the lives of people and boost their morale, to offer them occasions to help others, and finally to give hope where there is no hope.
The story of EWTN is the story of a brave woman who had the courage of her conviction that she should be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Mother Angelica (who died in 2016), started broadcasting Catholic TV for just a few hours a day in 1981 from the garage of her Poor Clare Monastery in the US. The project grew and grew, and now, after thirty-five years, the Eternal Word Television Network is available twenty-four hours a day all over the world by cable and satellite. Mother Angelica is an example of a true Christian living out her Faith as salt to preserve Christian values and to provide the modern world with a purifying mass medium. She kept putting her lamp on the lamp-stand so that Christ’s Light would shine for everyone in the modern global village.
The second role of Christians is to receive the light of Christ and radiate it to people all around us in the form of love, kindness, mercy, forgiveness and humble service. With a little bit of Christ’s Light, we become a veritable lighthouse, illuminating the way for many and removing the darkness caused by hatred, spite and jealousy. We radiate Christ, the Light of the world, by our kindness and respect for others with different ethnic backgrounds, different lifestyles, other faiths or no faith at all.
If you doubt your light matters, take this little quiz: 1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world. 2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners. 3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America Pageant. Do you know all these answers? Probably not. Ask yourself some additional questions: 1. Who fed and clothed you when you were helpless? 2. What was the name of your 1st grade teacher? 3. Who is the first friend you would call in an emergency? You do know the answers to these questions. They are the salt and light of the world.
Just a little light empties the world of darkness. With a little Faith and love we can light up a big social area. Does that encourage us? It should. We may think we’re insignificant – and in a way we are – but with a little bit of Christ, we become a veritable lighthouse, illuminating the way for many. This Christ-light removes the darkness caused by hatred, spite and jealousy. Our good deeds and actions reflect the image of Jesus, the light of the world. We can speak with kindness and respect, we can value ourselves, we can tell the truth and we can use our talents. We can listen and talk, we can engage in dialogue and we can come to know people of different ethnic backgrounds, people with different lifestyles and sexual preferences, people of other faiths and people of no faith – and this will bring the light of Christ to illumine and change the world. Salt is a hidden but powerful influence. Light is a visible and revealing influence. Jesus tells us that we are not only to be the salt of the earth but also the light of the world. We are called to make a tangible impact on the world around us. Does our life make a difference? It should. Jesus said we are to be salt and light. Does our life make a difference? It can, if we surrender ourselves to Christ. Does our life make a difference? If we live for Him, it will!
God Bless You,