Liturgical Colour : Green
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ, today as we listened to the words of the Scriptures, we are all reminded that we are called to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world, that is to be good and active in living our lives as Christians, such that we may inspire one another and even more people to be faithful to God and to follow Him just as we have followed and loved Him as Christians, those who believe in God and accept Him as our Lord and Saviour. We are all called to reach out to those who have not yet known the Lord and touch their lives much as how our predecessors had done, as we heard from our Scriptures today.
In our first reading today, we heard the story of the prophet Elijah when he came to the region of Zarephath beyond the land of the Israelites, during the time of a great drought and famine that affected not just the land of Israel but also the surrounding regions. Elijah went to Zarephath and he met a widow whom the Lord had told him earlier on that she would provide him with food. The famine was of such great intensity that many must have perished without food and provisions, or from lack of water and other needs. The widow herself suffered, and she and her only son had almost nothing left on them, save for a little bit of flour and oil that were enough only for themselves as one last meal.
The prophet Elijah came to the widow and asked of some food from her, and while the widow hesitated due to her own predicaments, Elijah reassured her and comforted her with God’s love and providence, that if she did everything in accordance with God’s will, all would be taken care of, and as per the Lord’s words, her supply of flour and oil would not run out until the drought and famine ended. The widow hence took the flour and oil and made food for the prophet, and miraculously her supply of flour and oil continued to flow and did not stop as long as the famine and drought continued, as God provided her and her family, as well as Elijah, by His kindness and compassionate care.
In our Gospel passage today, as I mentioned earlier on, we heard of the Lord calling on His disciples to become the salt of the earth and the light of the world, and that they must truly have that flavour of the salt and not hide their light, for salt that had lost its saltiness and light that is not placed on a lampstand or hidden truly have no meaning and use at all. As the Lord’s disciples and followers, each and every one of us are called to be these same salt of the earth and the light of the world. We may not understand fully the reason why the Lord called us to be such unless we understand the context of these two very important commodities.
First of all, we live at a time when salt and light are no longer difficult to come by, and where salt and light are in such great abundance that we tend to dismiss them as trivial things and matter. But at the time of the Lord and His ministry, as it was for most of our human history, salt and light were extremely important commodities and I could not highlight or emphasise any less just how important and crucial they were to many people and communities. For salt was used in the preservation of food at the time when refrigeration and other methods of preservation were still non-existent. Salt was used in flavouring food that would have otherwise been bland and tasteless, and it was also used for the preservation of the bodies of the dead and many other purposes.
Not only that salt was very useful but as compared to the present day, the process of extraction and obtaining of salt was really time consuming and labour intensive, and hence, salt was a truly important and even expensive commodity back then, so much so that many countries imposed taxes and monopolised salt production to ensure the happiness and well-being of their people. When the Lord called on all of us to be the salt of the earth, He truly called on us to be full of this flavour of faith, to be precious to Him, and to be exemplary in our way of life, actions, words and deeds such that in everything we have, we will be great inspiration for others who witness us and our actions.
Then regarding light, in a world today where light is in abundance, due to the prevalence of electricity and electric-based lighting all over the world, we may not see the significance and importance of light. However, back then, light was supremely important just as salt was. Back when electricity was still non-existent, at night time when the Sun had set, except for the light from the Moon and the stars, darkness would have completely engulfed the whole land, and no one would have been able to see things clearly, unlike the often light-saturated streets and homes that we are familiar with today. Back then, many wild animals and other dangers lurked around in the darkness, and people truly treasured light wherever and whenever they could get hold of it, be it light from candles, torches, or any other natural sources of light present around them.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, hence when the Lord called on us all to be the light of the world, we are all called to be that source of inspiration, strength and hope for others who are still lost and searching for the way forward in the darkness. We are the beacons of God’s light and the bearers of His Good News, the Good News and hope that will illuminate the path of those who are still in the darkness of the world, and also strengthen and invigorate those who have not yet tasted and known the goodness of the Lord, His love, kindness and compassion. That is why the Lord called and challenged us to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us hence dedicate ourselves anew to the Lord and do whatever we can to glorify Him and to proclaim Him to our fellow brethren to the best of our abilities. Let us all inspire our fellow brothers and sisters, more and more people that they may also come to believe in the Lord just like we do. Let us always seek the Lord with a most loving heart, desiring to do our best to serve Him and to follow Him in each and every moments of our lives. May the Lord be with us always as well, and continue to strengthen each one of us in our faith. Amen.