Salt of the Earth and Light of the World
(see Mt 5:13-16)
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
The Gospel message of this Sunday brings us Christ’s declaration that we Christians are salt of the earth and light of the world.
Eventually salt and light never cease to be very helpful in our life.
Salt gives our food better flavor, and serves as both a natural, non-toxic preservative and disinfectant. On the one hand, we do not know how to season meat, fish and soup if we have no salt in the kitchen. We know, on the other, how delicious salted fish, salted egg, and salted radish taste. Besides, fish sauce, an indispensable ingredient for Vietnamese cooking, is made of fish and salt. People also use salt to cleanse objects, to soothe injuries and prevent open wounds from being infected.
We need light to see things and people around. Without light we do not know where to go. Without light we cannot write or read. Light is essential to life and history and civilization.
The Lord wants us to be salt and light because the two go hand in hand in describing the Christian Way of Life. Light symbolizes our actions which people can see. Salt means our faith which gives our actions strength and values. Light is the appearance, the body, the structure of the Christian community. Salt is the spirit, the soul, the quality, the motivation of the life and mission of the Church.
The light of the Church shines brightly when the Christian community faithfully lives up to the teaching of the Gospel. The Church like a mirror reflects the life of Christ Who is the light of the world. The light becomes dim, even dead, when the Church compromises, or worse gives up, its mission of telling the saving truth of Christ to the world because of fear or earthly interest such as thirst for money and power, the evil source of scandals and sins.
The salt of the Church can improve the taste of the life of humankind, preserve moral values, and destroy harmful influences of evil when the teaching of the Church is pure, free from human pride, error, and manipulation, so as to introduce to the world, with conviction and courage, the true message of Christ Who was crucified for the salvation of all human family. Otherwise, the salt of the Church is no longer pure, but mixed with dirty factors, and as a result of this, becomes tasteless and useless.
Only by trusting in and clinging to the power of Our Lord Jesus Christ Who is the Sun of Justice, the Light of the world, and the burning Love of God, can the Church of which we Christians are members accomplish the mission of being the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
Fr. Francis Nguyen, O.P.