Engaging the Gospel – Matthew 5:13-16

5th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Gospel – Matthew 5:13-16

Our responsibility to be “salt of the earth” and “light of the world”

By calling us “salt of the earth” and “light of the world,” Jesus describes our mission as the People of God (Catechism paragraph 782).

This is not a command imposed upon us, but rather, it reveals what we have become through Baptism. The sacrament of Baptism conforms us to Christ (1272-74), who is the “true light that enlightens every man” (1216).

Light and salt are both invested with symbolism, as Blessed Pope John Paul II noted:

The images of salt and light used by Jesus are rich in meaning and complement each other. In ancient times, salt and light were seen as essential elements of life.

One of the main functions of salt is to season food, to give it taste and flavor. This image reminds us that, through Baptism, our whole being has been profoundly changed, because it has been ‘seasoned’ with the new life which comes from Christ…

For a long time, salt was also used to preserve food. As the salt of the earth, you are called to preserve the faith which you have received and to pass it on intact to others…

The light which Jesus speaks of in the Gospel is the light of faith, God’s free gift, which enlightens the heart and clarifies the mind…Our personal encounter with Christ bathes life in new light, sets us on the right path, and sends us out to be his witnesses…

Just as salt gives flavor to food and light illumines the darkness, so too holiness gives full meaning to life and makes it reflect God’s glory.

Message for World Youth Day 2002.

Question for reflection: Who has been a beacon of Christ’s light for me?