The deep darkness and hunger that we encounter in our world cannot be ignored. Humanity is locked in struggle of eternal results. Human souls hunger for security, a sense of control, of power, of belonging, of being loved. This hunger is seen in the conflicts infecting the politics and culture of our nation and world. It is seen in the desperate hunger of appetites feeding on materialism, and appetites of the body that rule instead of serve the human soul. Strong is the temptation to fear..to believe that the forces of darkness are in control and will prevail. Even in the Church the dark forces of strife, division scandal and doubt are felt. It has been this way ever since the battle of lies began in a garden long ago.
While our times are truly intense and challenging they are part of the conflict for which or Lord, our Savior came to redeem and call us to follow Him. This call, this new covenant of promise and mercy is especially proclaimed in the Sermon on the Mount our Gospel focuses upon for the next several Sundays. This personal, power-filled call was shared by our Lord early in His earthly ministry as He encountered the intense hunger, conflicts and needs of the human soul. It is in that context Jesus would speak to each of us today. “YOU are the salt of the earth….YOU are the light of the world.” Now for many of us these words of Jesus can be heard with concern. We know we aren’t always light and besides Jesus said said HE was the Light of the world..so we are off the hook….or are we??
SALT…YOU are the salt of the earth. What a statement! I mean come on, we need to live low salt or salt free! Right? Actually salt is one of the most essential minerals for health. Modern medicine makes extensive use of saline solutions both for IV fluids and for cleansing of wounds. Many of us remember it was common place in our jobs to have salt pills available on those pre-Gatorade/sports drink hot summer days. Those pills were essential to replace the salt lost in hard sweaty work. Now in our modern culture where the reality of hard physical work is often replaced by desks and computers, along with high sodium infused processed foods we suffer from excess.. salt. But we need to remember as it was in ancient times we need to live and be..”worth our salt”. The Old Testament reading explains what this means. We are urgently needed to live our faith responding to and meeting the urgent needs of the hungry, homeless, the naked, the refugee. We cannot afford to be so heavenly minded we are no earthly good! This clearly applies to the physical world as we see these souls more and more. But it also applies especially to the spiritually starving, the soul robbed of garments of worth and dignity, of the soul-sick and afflicted. We are called by Christ to be the cleansing agent the flavor of true hope through souls and “TASTE AND SEE THE GOODNESS OF THE LORD.”
LIGHT..YOU are the light of the world. We live in a world beaming with endless radiance of ARTIFICIAL LIGHT. People work long hours in environments empty of real sunlight to go home and focus on the light of HD television, video games or computer screens. IF..WHEN we go outside we smear on the sun screen block what is considered harmful..then wonder why we need vitamin supplements for ur well-being! Spiritually this is even more visible. The false light of artificial glare and pretend gospels blind the human soul to the radiant simplicity and hoe we have in Christ. These distracting lights cause us to focus on feelings, external practices and our human perceptions. When what is needed is to be able to see the exquisite clarity of Jesus and His mercy, love and hope. And many struggle with the blinding lights of the world that long to see..the beauty of holiness and love of God in their darkness.
So it is that Jesus calls..command..commends each of us that we are the salt of the earth, the light of the world. He would go with us, empower us to help others to taste His goodness..to see His truth..in and through..us. May we each taste ..see the goodness of the Lord and then live our faith and love for God that others may see know God’s grace in their lives.