JESUS CALLS HIS TRUE FOLLOWERS
THE SALT OF THE EARTH AND THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD
(A biblical refection on THE 5th ORDINARY SUNDAY (YEAR A), 9 February 2020 )
Gospel Reading: Matthew 5:13-16
First Reading: Isaiah 58:7-10; Psalms: Psalm 112:4-8a,9; Second Reading: 1Corinthians 2:1-5
The Scripture Text
“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid. Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-16 RSV)
Jesus Christ calls His true followers the “salt of the earth”, and the “light of the world”. These are titles of honor, surely, and of the greatest distinction. Jesus is putting His true followers on almost a level with Himself. He was the light of the world; he was the salt of earth. He was the one who gave men the knowledge of the true nature of God, as shown by the Incarnation. He was the one who gave this life its flavor, who gave life its meaning, its preservation. By His death and resurrection He took away the sting of death, and removed its eternal corruption, by the guarantee and promise of a resurrection to an eternal life.
This every Christian knows, and this knowledge every Christian helps to bring to those who are ignorant of it, if he lives his Christian life daily and sincerely. The Christian who does this, is really another Christ; he is continuing His work of salvation during His years on earth. He is the salt of the earth and the light of the world. How many of us, however, can truly say that these honorable titles, which Jesus Christ gives to His followers, are given to us?
In true humility, we can all say that we are far from worthy of any such honorable titles. Yet in all sincerity too, many if not the majority among us, are doing their bit of Christ’s work, in cultivating their own small corner of His vineyard. The parents who teach the Christian way of life to their children by word, and especially by example, are spreading the Christian faith. The workmen, whether in office or factory, who show that they are Christians by their honesty, charity for their fellowmen, their respect for God, and the things of God, in their speech, are spreading their Christian faith. All those who show moderation in their personal expenditures, and donate some of their savings to help their sisters and/or brothers, their fellowmen who are in need, these are true disciples of Christ and are cooperating with Him in bringing God’s children back to their Father who is in heaven.
Unlike the salt that has lost its flavor, and the light that is kept under the bushel, the Christian who has thus behaved can change his attitude, provided he is aided by God’s grace which is never refused. He can become once more what he ought to be – a life-preserver for his neighbor.
Life on earth is short. The demands of our Christian life may not always be easy, but we know that if we live up to them, we are other Christs. We are continuing His great work by our own good example to our neighbor, and we are giving glory to God, and are earning for ourselves the eternal light of heaven.
Short Prayer: Heavenly Father, by Your Holy Spirit, remind us always about our dignity as Christians, meaning the followers or disciples of Christ. Amen.
Jakarta, 8 February 2020
A Christian Pilgrim