First Reading ‡ Isaiah 58:7-10
Your light will shine like the dawn.
Responsorial ‡ Psalm 111:4-9
A light rises in the darkness for the upright.
Second Reading ‡ 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
I came to you to proclaim Christ crucified.
Gospel ‡ Matthew 5:13-16
You are the light of the world.
So, we continue to read through or to listen to Jesus as he announces this good news. This whole sense of what he’s about. The highlight reel, if you like, of his ministry and his teaching. The Sermon on the Mount is meant for us to be this encounter with the essence of all that Jesus was about. Tonight, as part of this introduction, with the Beatitudes last week, and then this part tonight kind of concludes this introductory salvo.
As we hear what we’re about, what he’s instructing for us to all be about, and these two images that he uses are so crucial for us. You are the salt of the earth, you are the light of the world. And before we get too excited about this and think, yes, he’s addressing me. Very specifically. The you there he is in the plural, you all, all of you together. It’s this a church as a community that we’re meant to be. This transformative presence in the world. And although maybe like some others you know, I try to avoid too much salt in my diet. It’s still a crucial part of all that we are. And when you get a dish served up to you and the chef hasn’t been that attentive to flavouring. The food you’re like oh, this is really isn’t that good. So salt is that flavouring element it provides. That’s source of dynamism. You know you need it. It’s essential to of any good food. It has to have just enough, you know the old recipe line “season to taste”. You know it’s essential that we get a little bit of that seasoning there.
And of course back in the 1st century, before the age of refrigeration and freezing and all the other ways of preserving food, you need it to add that thin layer of salt around the meat or around other food they wanted to reserve so that it would last a little bit longer, and so salt has that sense of being there as that preservation to. Offer us that possibility of using things beyond their other ways used by. But salt is crucial for us to experience and encounter.
You know, there can be things that kind of look a little bit like salt, you know. So if your food you’re you’re you know you’re eating some fish and chips on the beach, and you know the chips are already covered in salt, but you drop some and into the sand and you pick it up. And it kind of looks. Like the salt, but it certainly doesn’t taste like the salt, even though that the with the sand will be a little bit salty because of the influence of the sea, and so you. You you’ve got to. Get the original and the best you’ve got to go back with that, so there’s no point. Having that and that thing. That looks a little bit like. Take it, but it certainly doesn’t taste the same, and the problem is, as Jesus highlights, the salt becomes tasteless.
Well, we know that sodium chloride doesn’t actually break down it. We can in water. It can dissolve and it can become part of something else and and becomes much less powerful and its impact. But it’s important for us not to accept the substitutes. We know that there are some times in our lives when things that once provided such a focus and a goal and a direction for us. But they lose that sense. They lose that drive. The Holy Spirit maybe was this powerful force earlier in our lives, or when we received the sacraments of initiation and the Holy Spirit was powerfully at work in us. Even if we didn’t really notice. It too much. But often we begin to just to cruise to coast and we’re not able to encounter the living God in that powerful and direct. And the invitation today, particularly as we as the Australian Church reflect on the place of the scriptures, the place of the Bible in our lives.
This word of God Sunday: We know that it’s in pondering the word of God. It’s in spending time in prayer that we remember who we are that we get a sense of that call and that mission. That we’ve been invited into. The salt of the earth, but also as the light of the world that we’re meant to be there as this beacon in the world. We’re meant to be this sign of God’s presence, not for ourselves, but for others. The salt of the Lidar are never just for ourselves, it’s for us. In our relationship. With others inviting them into their life, inviting them to experience this transformative grace. And this goodness of God’s love.
But we can be this sign within the world. But we can also accept substitutes that don’t provide that life and don’t provide their vitality. Or we can think that it’s just about me and my personal relationship with God, but that soon Withers, because unless we allow others to to be part of that experience, unless we let others also call us back into life and. Remind us of the gift and the grace of God’s love. It slowly just begins to to wither away. It slowly begins to fade. It slowly loses it’s light and its power. You know light is there to bring that separation from darkness to be that source. When we’re able to to continue to experience the fullness of God within the darkness of the night. And we’re meant to. To be that sign within the world that this is about justice. This is about grace. This is about God’s call that’s placed upon us, and it’s the extent that we open ourselves. It’s the extent that we ponder this. It’s the extent that we spend time in that personal relationship with the.
But also as we ponder our world and our life together in Community, that it’s only as we grow as a church in community, that all of this begins to make sense as well. And so the call and the invitation is to do our role to take our time each day to ponder the word of God. To spend time in prayer. To be people that are changed and transformed by that daily encounter with. But also to encourage others to also meet together to be people that share that goodness, and that grace by allowing God’s word to become something that is living and active. Something that changes and transforms me so that I can then change and transform others around us. So we’re challenged to. And to who we? Are what our purpose and mission is is to be people that are transformed by God’s love so that we in turn can then share that and allow others to also be changed and transformed by this encounter. With the Lord, so let’s indeed make that first commitment to serve the Lord to acknowledge that there are times when my life has become a little bit flavourless. A little bit tasteless and to renew my commitment to let God’s love to get his let his salt and his light change me and transform me so that together with the community. We can be that presence within the world of God’s goodness of his salts, his love, and his light within our world.