Salt and Light
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.
The Church has nominated this Sunday to be Sunday of the Word of God. The Church encourages us to spend more time reflecting on and discussing what we believe in. The Bible is a collection of books written by multiple authors over many centuries. The authors used an array of literary devices and genres to deliver and communicate important messages which requires thought, reflection and meditation. Most examples used related to people’s experiences of the time whether it be work in agriculture, use of common household items and even those things found in the kitchen.
Most weeks I have the challenging, but privileged task of writing and presenting homilies for different occasions whether they be for a funeral, a wedding, for school students, residents in communal care. There is certainly something for everyone as there are different angles one can take. The words never fail to challenge and inspire because the true author is the Holy Spirit who knows every fibre of our being.
This week’s Gospel uses two well-known images, salt, and light. We can start to appreciate the Gospel message by first of all relating to the images in our lives. A cooking novice like me knows that salt is a necessary ingredient to most dishes. Its purpose is to enhance and draw out the natural flavours of other ingredients. Its role is not to outshine but quietly fulfils its support role to the main ingredient. If it outshines you will know it has been over applied and becomes too salty. In the same way with light, people tend to not look at the light but where it is pointing.
After the Sermon on the Mount on the Beatitudes last Sunday, Jesus follows up with the spirit of humility in which we should approach our good works. It is not to draw attention to ourselves. True humility is not about hiding or covering up either, but doing the good deeds without expectation of recognition or reward. One of the things I like doing each year is to look up the Order of Australia Medal award given to recipients representing the Church and the wider society. Their works covers wide and important areas of education, sport, social services, family relationship, homelessness. For a long time they have been going about being “salt and light of the world” quietly and without much fanfare.
We may think our efforts pales in comparison to the works and projects that can make wholesale changes to society such efforts though can still help others grow in the awareness of God. If one person benefits from a small act of kindness or charity, then it is a very good start.
Fr Hoang Dinh