Most people were outside that sultry evening of late August. There wasn’t much to do besides waiting and hoping; hoping and waiting. I swear that when the electric power was restored after two and half days of mounting miseries, there was a collective spontaneous eruption of joy and relief audible across the neighborhood. Suddenly, so many things had to be done inside the home; and all of them in a hurry so that the many inconveniences endured could be erased quickly!
As it is with our health, electric power is just supposed to be there, docile, solicitous, prompt—all the time at our disposal. We are oblivious of the fragility that affects this awesome convenience. A strong gust of wind, a broken tree limb, ice buildup and it is gone!
The same is true of our health. For many of us it has been there for decades, allowing us to enjoy life and even to ingest, to our heart’s content, all those munchies frowned upon by the HFP (healthy food police). But now, a growing number of us are left with two choices: low-sodium and no-sodium. Adding insult to injury, officials from the HFP, with an irritating smile, tell us that there are salt substitutes which are just as good as the real thing.
In the wake of these two considerations, I am more than certain that, thankfully, our appreciation for light and salt has just gone up significantly. Hence, now we might be ready to welcome responsibly these two very familiar statements from the lips of Jesus.
“You are the salt of the earth.” “You are the light of the world.”
Central to our receptivity of these two utterances are, first, the source of our saltiness and the source of our light, then, the obligations that are natural to our being the salt of the earth and the light of the world and, finally, the purpose for executing our tasks of giving flavor and of shedding our light all around.
The source of our saltiness is the Holy Spirit, the very life of God. The Holy Spirit is Love so intense between the Father and the Son that he is the third Person of the Holy Trinity. His first fruit to us, God’s children by adoption, is love (Galatians 5:22).
That first fruit prompts us to love God with our entire being, to love our neighbor as ourselves and to put into practice the New Commandment of loving one another as Jesus has loved us (John 13: 24). That is the saltiness that was poured into our hearts (Romans 5: 5) to give flavor to all our thoughts of sincere concern for the wellbeing of others, to add the taste of kindness to our words and to enhance the savor of our acts of loving service.
The source of our light, of course, is Jesus himself (John 8:12). The whole gospel of John leaves no doubt about this fundamental fact. Our little individual lights are destined to be significant and efficacious because they draw their light from Christ.
Now, we must keep in mind that, at the moment in which we consciously accept being light, we enlist in the army of Christ and are abruptly thrown into the thick of the multi-millennial battle against the forces of darkness. However, up to now we might, instead, have carefully placed our light under a bushel basket intent on avoiding confrontations, insults, humiliations, hurts, or even rejection and banishment from choice groups.
Yet, today, it is unmistakably clear that our dignity as chosen race and royal priesthood (1 Peter 2: 9) compels us to feel ashamed on account of our prolonged disengagement. Therefore, in the newly-found courage of our dignity as a holy nation (1 Peter 2: 9), we decide to set our light on the stand of direct, bold, unapologetic confrontation with the forces of darkness, falsehoods, and sinister fabrications that are determined to mislead one and all lukewarm disciples of Christ, destroy the most defenseless of God’s children and silence the Church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth. (1 Timothy 3: 15)
It is time, then, for us to be clear as to the purpose for which we are called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
It is so that people around us, those we encounter even casually, but especially those with whom we associate and with whom we work may benefit from the flavor of our genuine love, see our good deeds and give glory to our heavenly Father.
According to his plan, all of his creatures are meant to give him glory. This infinite and inexhaustible glory that is due to him must be a confession of his divinity, a manifestation of his unparalleled greatness, an indisputable recognition of his holiness, a ceaseless extolling of his majesty coming, in an eminent way, from those who are created in his image and likeness.
Today, Jesus implies that for this to happen it is imperative that we make ourselves physically noticeable as salt and as light.
People have to have their senses of hearing, sight and touch directly impacted by our actions—all this within the setting of real, visible, tangible battles against the forces of darkness and evil.
And if our love for Jesus is not yet sufficient to get us completely drawn into these battles, we should consider that significant glory to our heavenly Father would be coming from a generous display of our saltiness and light to give to the many pessimists out there a new, bright, hope-filled outlook on life.
An equally important portion of God’s glory is achieved by infusing irresistible courage in those who are despondent, discouraged and wallowing in self-pity so that they, too, may join us in giving flavor to our tasteless world and shedding the light of truth far and wide.
There is no time to waste because the glory of God is the ultimate purpose of the whole universe. For as the Psalmist (19:2) has declared: The heavens declare the glory of God; the firmament proclaims the work of his hands.