Today’s Readings can be found here.
You can listen to this homily being delivered here.
Brothers and sisters we just heard the second installment from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. Last week, if not for the Feast of the Presentation of our Lord, we would have heard Jesus begin that Sermon with the Beatitudes, those “blessed” statements about peacemakers, mourners, and the meek. So, we lose out a little not getting to hear those words that are well-loved. If you want to read them on your own, go to Chapter Five in the Gospel of Matthew and you will see them followed by the Gospel we heard today. With today’s Gospel, Jesus is not speaking in generalities of people, but Jesus is speaking to each and everyone of us directly and specifically. He is saying that we are the salt of the earth. We ARE the salt of the earth. And that we are the light of the world. We ARE the light of the world. It can be so easy to dismiss those statements because we have heard them so many times before, but today, let us try to take them to heart.
First, we are the salt of the earth, but if salt loses its taste it is no longer good for anything. Brothers and sisters, what does salt do but enliven the rest of the food it is mixed with? We are to mix with others and enliven them! We are to give flavor to the world with our unique skills and talents, through our time and treasure, through each of our interactions with others to make certain that they are enlivened by the Holy Spirit too!
Second, we are the light of the world, and we need to be set upon a lampstand so that our light shines before others. How does that happen? Well, let us consult the first reading which tells us that when we share our bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless, clothe the naked, when we see them, and do not turn our backs on our own, then our light will break forth like the dawn. Essentially when we perform the corporal and spiritual works of mercy for others, our light shines before others.
Every time we feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, clothe the naked, visit the sick and imprisoned, bury the dead and give alms to the poor, our light shines before others. Every time we instruct, advise, console, comfort, forgive, and bear wrongs patiently and with compassion, our light shines before others.
Brothers and sisters, these things I have just listed are why we are here on this Earth, and what we are supposed to do as Christians. Let us today redouble our efforts to do them and be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Amen.