In today’s Gospel reading, we hear the word’s of Jesus to his follower’s: you are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Jesus often uses images that we are familiar with from the material world, to ultimately communicate to us a deeper spiritual reality. Something that we cannot see. So why are you salt in the Gospel and why are you light? These images or substances should awaken our senses and they should cause a reaction. They enhance or bring to flavor or brighten a dark place. If we look at all the readings today, we might use one word to summarize all of them and that word would be Witness.
We are called to be witnesses of God’s love to the world. Did you know that witness does more to build up the Kingdom of God than a life time of learning and study. It is said that kindness which is an expression of charity has done more for God’s kingdom, for the building up of the kingdom than all learning and teaching put together.
Do you ever wonder how you might view Christianity or Catholicism if you weren’t already a believer. If you were just someone on the outside looking in, what would your impression be or your feelings be about the faith.
When Kathleen and I came to Calgary two years ago we went to a Catholic church not far from us for over three months and in that time no one welcomed us or even gave us the time of day. We felt like total strangers, outsiders. If you experienced this as a non believer searching for a community of faith in which you would like to be part of, you would walk away. The actions, the thoughts, the attitudes of those who proclaim Jesus as their Lord and Savior are really no different from those who don’t.
So, what was it in Jesus’s time that made it attractive for non believers to become Christians. The people wanted to be united with Jesus and wanted to be part of this community which seemed to love in a much deeper way. They saw a community unlike any other and they wanted to be part of it. It was the example they set for others. Their beliefs seemed to truly impact the choices they made and the attitudes they displayed on a day to day basis.
Can we say today, that our faith community is like that. Would people on the outside be attracted to what we have to offer. Its no wonder why Christianity is having such a difficult time drawing people to the church and to Jesus, because we have lost that zeal and love for our neighbor.
Can you imagine what might be accomplished if we showed others the power of Gods love, by loving those who we don’t even love. Can you imagine what might be accomplished if we showed others the power of Gods forgiveness, by refusing to hold a grudge. Can you imagine what might be accomplished if we showed others the power of Gods compassion, by reaching out to the lonely and to the hurting. You are the salt of the earth, You are the light of the world.
You are essential to life, your words and your actions influence others to act. Do not underestimate the value of your presence if you think that no one will miss you if you are gone. Then you will be wrong. Like salt you flavor other peoples lives. Today in the Gospel Jesus’s message is clear as He states: You are, Jesus did not say: do you want to be or you can be, but rather You are the salt and the light. This means that we have a responsibility , an obligation as follower’s of Jesus to live this out in our lives so that they may radiate Christ’s love for the world.