You are the salt of the earth.

You are a child of God. A child of God created in the image and likeness of the creator is the salt of the earth. St Perpetua of Carthage once said “When my father in his affection for me was trying to turn me from my purpose by arguments and thus weaken my faith, I said to him, ‘Do you see this vessel—water pot or whatever it may be? Can it be called by any other name than what it is?’ ‘No,’ he replied. ‘So I cannot call myself by any other name than what I am—a Christian.’” Similarly, we cannot call ourselves anything else than who we were made to be. This is our identity! “Salt” in the days of old was as valuable as money.

Workers were paid in salt! John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only-begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.”

We were ransomed with the precious blood of Christ, more valuable than silver or gold. (1 Pet 1:18-19) Are you worth your salt?

God has created all things for a benefit, all things to have a purpose. We recognize our call to be a disciple of Christ and we know it is not an easy journey. There is always friction, always persecution, doubts, highs and lows – these we know as redemptive suffering. Salt symbolizes this as well. In order to season well and produce flavor in the meat, it has to be in contact and rubbed well into the meat and allowed to sit over for some hours or dissolved well into the soup. Are you struggling to be the seasoning agent? “In our sufferings (and in the tears salt is produced;) knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given us.” (Rom 5:3)

Salt has a distinctive taste. So how can salt lose its taste and expire? When Jesus said this, he was talking about the salt of their time. The salt that came from the Dead Sea may not have been purified with the techniques we have now. Evaporation occurred along the coastline and the salt that was left behind was mixed with impurities like sand and lime. In this impure mixture, the salt content was small and easily leached out thereby losing its taste and value. Interestingly, salt was also mixed with animal manure into patties as fuel for ovens to help the patties burn longer and with more heat. When the patty was no longer usable, it was thrown out. Despite being thrown out as useless, it still would benefit to harden the muddy grounds of their towns. We are the salt in the broken impure world and yet not of the world. Have we faded from the sand with bitter hearts and unrepentance? Are we preserving our faith or are we losing our distinct saltiness by our hypocritical actions?

You are the light of the world.

“Light” in Greek has many translations. The one used in today’s gospel comes from the Greek word “phos (φῶς)” which is illumination – by happiness, victory and glory and it is the opposite of darkness. To be illuminated, we must first have the source of our illumination and that is to have a relationship with Christ Jesus who is the way, the truth and the life. “Truth” in Greek means “aletheia (ἀλήθεια)” – the state of not being hidden. We cannot hide the truth and we cannot put our light under a bushel basket. Christ cannot be hidden and he is our guiding light so that we can in turn be a light to others. It is in our human nature to share all that is good and edifying. We illuminate our victory stories and our daily doses of joyful encounters with our loved ones. Good deeds are praised and acknowledged by men. Have you been afraid of shining your light in a world of darkness, relativism and growing secularism? Are you the light that brightens the room, or the eclipse that darkens with gloom?

There is a balance to maintain. “If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal.” (1 Cor 13:1) That is, if we have all our successes (the light) but we do not share or live it with the intention of glorifying God, we lose our taste and our identity. May we be graced with discernment to live our Catholic faith graciously, seasoned with salt, sensitive to the needs of others so that we cannot call ourselves by any other name than what we are.

With joy of Christ,