In our gospel reading this Sunday Jesus tells his disciples that they are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. He adds, “. . . your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly father.”
If we were to witness the events of this passage being acted on stage, I think we would find them humorous: Jesus telling a motley group of puzzled followers, many illiterate, that they are the light of the world and when we hear the gospel passage in church on Sunday, we assume that Jesus is talking to those first disciples, surely not to us. But Jesus is talking to us in the same way he spoke the Disciples long ago. .Jesus used salt as a metaphor to describe who his disciples are and how they are to be in the world. Just as salt draws out the flavour of food, so we as Jesus’ disciples we are asked to draw out goodness in the world. As salt of the earth we may even have to upset the way things are and how life is ordinarily carried on – the usual “salty taste” of daily life in the world these days can be so topsy turvy as recent events have shown in America and other places as well. Jesus tells his disciples, “You are the light of the world.” They are to be seen, not hidden away they are called to be the light overcoming the darkness of our world and its peoples.
We in our own time are called to be the “light of the world,” each one of us a tiny ray of light, dispelling darkness, living in charity toward all, including persecutors. This light is an inner light the light of faith . Its source is divine grace that becomes visible to others by our kind words, our gracious acts, our personal refusal to resort to “oppression, false accusation or malicious speech.” And thus, as Isaiah promised, the gloom of sin and death shall be overcome, or as the psalmist declares, justice and mercy of the upright will be a light shining through the darkness. Christ gives us a huge amount of latitude and invites us to carry out our role as his representatives with the maximum level of personal responsibility. We are invited to utilise our own special gifts and talents to inform our role of being a disciple who is the salt of the earth and the light for the world. So let us turn to Jesus the light of life today, let us pray that we might share in his life, so that we might be the salt of the earth, and light in the darkness for all the people in our world still groping around for light in darkness of their lives.