Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, on this day we listened to the tale of the prophet Elijah who went to the region of Sidon while avoiding the land of Israel for the king of Israel and his forces wanted his death. There he met a widow of the town of Zarephath just as the Lord had told him. He was hungry and without food, for he was running away from his enemies, and the widow herself did not have much left, as the lack of rain had caused famine throughout the land.
She was hesitant to follow God’s will, as she was told to feed the prophet Elijah, while she and her own son had barely enough to eat for their last meal. They had almost given up hope, because the famine was truly very bad, and no food was left for them, leaving them to die in hunger. But the prophet Elijah reassured the woman and told her that God would provide for all that she and him would need.
In the end, God performed His miraculous deed, as the woman’s jar of oil and flour never ran dry, and as long as the dry spell and the famine continued, she had enough to provide for herself, for her son and for the prophet Elijah. That was God’s providence for His faithful servants. And then, later on, in another part of the Book of Kings, it was told that the woman’s son died, and the woman again struggled in her faith.
But the Lord showed yet once again, His love, providence and compassion. Through the prophet Elijah, He returned the son of the woman back to life, and I am certain that all of these, would have made the widow of Zarephath to be a believer in God. Elijah the prophet performed his work even during those difficult and hard times, when he was assailed and on the run.
In the Gospel passage today, the Lord Jesus taught the people using parables, and this particular parable mentioned in the passage today, is the parable of the salt and the light. He mentioned how all the faithful people of God and His disciples are called to be salt of the earth and light of the world. Why did He use these two items to teach to the disciples in such a manner?
That is because, at the time of Jesus, salt and light are much more important than what we deem them to be now. We live in a world where salt and light are in abundance, at any time of the day, that we do not appreciate just how important they are. Salt is a very important commodity used in the past to preserve fresh food, preventing them from spoilage, and this is still true even to this very day. We still use salt to preserve our food, as salt kills the germs and bacteria present in the food.
That is also why, salt was also used to purify water, as what the prophet Elisha, Elijah’s successor, done to a water source that was unfit for drinking. Salt is also used in our holy water, as a symbol of purification, as salt kills any unwanted microorganism present in the water that could have made us sick. And of course, salt also gives flavour and taste to food, that without salt, food might have ended up tasteless and bland.
Meanwhile, light was very important to us all, as without light, in the darkness, we cannot see anything. At night, when there was no sunlight, people depended on the light from the moon and the stars to guide their way, and they use candles and torches to provide them with light. With light, mankind could be active even at night, and the light made wild beasts and predators to back off from attacking our ancestors.
Now, as we have discussed, we can see just how important salt and light are to our lives, and all the more so during the time of Jesus. What the Lord told His disciples was in fact a calling to make them realise that each and every one of them, that is all of us as well, must have that commitment, that zeal and that living faith in us. Or else, our faith is empty and meaningless.
Now, brothers and sisters in Christ, our greatest obstacle is ignorance and indifference. We do not care to be truly active in living our faith, and indeed, sometimes we are fearful and hesitant. As a result, that is why we have not been salt of the earth and light of the world. But are we content with this current state of our lives? Should we not make a determined effort to make a difference now?
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us all therefore, from now on, be salt of the earth and light of the world, as the Lord has called us to be. And this means that we should do our best, to show love and care for one another, and to be exemplary in our faith, devoting ourselves wholeheartedly to the Lord, even when challenges and obstacles arise in our path. Remember, that the prophet Elijah remained faithful, even though he had to be on the run many times, just because he kept his faith in God.
May the Lord be with us all, and may He awaken in each and every one of us, the desire to serve Him and to love Him with all of our hearts. May He bless us and all of our endeavours, now and always. Amen.