Isaiah 58:7-10; Ps 112 The just man is alight in the darkness to the upright; 1 Corin 2:1-5; Matt 5:13-16
We continue to fool along in the Sermon of the mount through our Sunday readings as we anticipate the coming of the season of Lent.
Last week we were invited to heed the Beatitudes the ingredient so holiness for those who seek to follow Christ. Today we encounter these words, "You are the salt of the earth...you are the light of the world...a city on the mountain..."
But i believe in order to full grasp these words we have to fast forward to the end of the sermon of the mount where we are told, "Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock...But it did not collapse...And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand... And it collapsed. (Matt 7 24-27 two foundations)
The foundations we build must be founded on a purpose and a plan. We have to now what the foundation is going to be used for. I believe these lines we encounter in today's gospel are telling us the plan and purpose of Jesus words in the sermon. They are meant to get us to be salt and light for the world.
Our focus isn't abut getting as much as it is about giving so that the world might come to know the beauty and goodness of Christ himself.
Salt and light are not created for themselves. They are useful in so far as they are used for other realities. Salt does not flavor itself. Light does not illumine itself.
What does salt do: it preserves and brings out flavor but it also kills. We say someone is salt of the earth that means that are exhibits and examples of fundamental goodness. We also say that when we salt the earth then we poison the ground and destroy.
The same goes with light. Light illumine. It illumines both the beauty to be celebrated and the ugly to be exposed and eliminated.
This is what we are called to do in the cultures we live in; we are called to illumine the beauty and invite it to be held in high esteem and imitated; we are invited to preserve the goodness and season life so that goodness can be experienced all the while destroying that which is hideous.