To be salt and light in the midst of the world


In the Gospel of this Sunday's Mass, the Lord speaks to us of our responsibility before the world: You are the salt of the earth.... You are the light of the world. And he says this to each of us, to those of us who want to be his disciples.

Salt gives flavor to food, makes it palatable, preserves it from corruption and was a symbol of divine wisdom. In the Old Testament it was prescribed that whatever was offered to God should bear salt, signifying the will of the offerer that it should be pleasant. Light is the first work of God in creation, and is a symbol of the Lord himself, of Heaven and of Life. Darkness, on the contrary, signifies death, hell, disorder and evil.

The disciples of Christ are the salt of the earth: they give a higher meaning to all human values, they avoid corruption, they bring wisdom to men with their words. They are also the light of the world, guiding and pointing the way in the midst of darkness. When they live according to their faith, with their irreproachable and simple behavior, they shine like lights in the world, in the midst of their work and their chores, in their daily life. On the other hand, how noticeable it is when the Christian does not act in the family, in society, in the public life of the people! When a Christian does not bring the doctrine of Christ to the place where he lives his life, human values themselves become insipid, without any transcendence, and often become corrupted.

When we look around us it seems to us as if, on many occasions, men have lost the salt and light of Christ. "Civil life is marked by the consequences of secularized ideologies, ranging from the denial of God or the limitation of religious freedom, to the preponderant importance attributed to economic success over the human values of work and production; from materialism and hedonism, which attack the values of the prolific and united family, those of newly conceived life and the moral protection of youth, to a "nihilism" that disarms the will to face crucial problems such as those of the new poor, migrants, ethnic and religious minorities, the misuse of the media, while arming the hands of terrorism". There are many evils that derive from "the defection of the baptized and believers from the profound reasons for their faith and from the doctrinal and moral vigor of that Christian vision of life, which guarantees balance to persons and communities". We have reached this situation - in which it is necessary to evangelize Europe and the world anew - because of the accumulation of omissions of so many Christians who have not been salt and light, as the Lord asked of them.

Christ left us his doctrine and his life so that men may find meaning in their existence and find happiness and salvation. The Lord continues to tell us in the Gospel of the Mass: "A city cannot be hidden on a hilltop; nor is a light lit to be placed under a bushel basket, but on a lampstand so that it may give light to all in the house. Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven. And for this it is necessary, in the first place, the example of an upright life, the cleanliness of conduct, the exercise of human and Christian virtues in the simple life of every day. The light, the good example, must come first.