Matthew 5:13-16, Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
The Gospel today speaks of discipleship. As baptized Christians, we are called to become the salt of the earth and light of the world. But what’s in the salt and light that Jesus decided to use these things as metaphors of discipleship?
Salt has many practical uses. It can act as preservative, fertilizer, antiseptic and food seasoning. In the old testament, salt was an important commodity that even soldiers were being paid with salt. During the time of Jesus, people could not live without the salt.
On the other hand, light is important to everyone, including in our present time. Without the light, especially in the evening, everything and everybody will be in total chaos. The light allows us to see everything. It gives us a sense of direction. It gives us order.
In other words, like the salt and light, the presence of dedicated Christians is necessary in our society – to bring flavor in our tasteless life and light in our confused global community. By living the beatitudes of God as proposed by Jesus (Mark 5:1-12), we become the salt and light of the earth: We are called to love the poor, to uphold justice, to fight for the truth, to forgive our enemies, to accompany the lonely and rejected, to bring hope to the hopeless and to become selfless, so others may have life.
Therefore, we are not supposed to lose our saltiness. We are supposed to stay salty. We are supposed to stay bright. For the sake of the bringing flavor in our bitter and tasteless world, and for the sake of bringing understanding in our confused and chaotic world. Stay salty. Stay bright.
One day, a neophyte salesman went to his manager and said, “It’s really difficult to sell our products. No one wants to buy. My sales is down.” He gave a deep sigh and continued, “You can bring the horse to the river, but you cannot force him to drink.”
The manager smile and said, “Son, take my advice. Your goal is not to make the horse drink. Your job is TO MAKE HIM THIRSTY.”
In other words, as salt and light of the earth, our goal is not just simply tell everyone that God loves them. Our job is to make them THIRSTY FOR GOD. Let’s face the reality that many Christians are not thirsty or hungry for God’s love and presence anymore. The social media and the “culture of spending” have made us thirst for more money, power and honor. The materialistic world and culture of consumerism have beaten God in this aspect. We don’t feel any thirst for God anymore. God is simply obliterated.
The challenge of our gospel today is to regain our identity and mission. Have you lost your saltiness or your light? Are we not doing our role as salt and light of the earth? Are we living out the beatitudes of Christ? Are you making anyone thirsty of real happiness that come from God? of lasting joy? of lasting treasure? Through our words and actions, are we making others thirst or hungry for God?
STAY SALTY. STAY BRIGHT. If you lose your saltiness and light, simply return to God and regain your saltiness and light.