Salt of the Earth and Light of the World
5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
What is the most significant change you’ve seen in the world in the last 10 (ten) years?
Ano ang pinakamakabuluhang naganap na pangyayari na nakita mo sa mundo sa loob ng sampung taon? (Interpreter’s Tagalog version)
Such was the question posed upon our Philippine candidate to Miss Universe 2016, Maxine Medina. Since, I am not in the “poise under pressure” situation, I can name a few of those changes: 1. Change in governance, 2. Change in worldviews, and 3. Change in the way we communicate especially in the use of the social media, etc. But why is this question so important? It is important because, one’s answer to this question will speak about one’s awareness to social issues and more so, one’s involvement or participation in the entire process of “change.” In the Church lingo, it will reflect about our capacity to discern and understand, the signs of the times!
Speaking of signs of the times, I bought this book from years ago when Pope Benedict XVI was still the Pope entitled, “Light of the World: The Pope, the Church, and the Signs of the Times.” Reading the book, I was able to understand the mind of the Pope Emeritus and his vision. What does it take to be “light of the world” and “salt of the earth?” Three point for reflection taken from the book:
First, to be “salt of the earth and light of the world” is to first be renewed to a life of holiness. In this book, he repeatedly expressed the need for renewal and conversion. In fact, when he was asked questions about ecological concerns, he said these very words
“… While we must be very keenly aware of it, [negative effects of ecological devastation] we must also see all the opportunities for good that are there: the hopes, the new possibilities for being human that exist. So as then, finally, to proclaim the need for change, which cannot happen without an interior conversion”
As light of the world and salt of the earth, it is our basic function to proclaim the need for change as we respond to current issues and needs. But before doing so, one has to first start from within through interior conversion. In fact, Christian Unity to become a reality, each member must subject themselves open for conversion. Otherwise, our cause for unity will be futile. But how? Our Pope continues by saying,
“Part of this conversion is putting God first place again. That changes everything else. And inquiring about God’s words, so as to allow them as realities to shine into one’s own life. We must, so to speak, dare again the experiment with God – so as to allow him to work within our society.”
So putting God first above anything else is key. Is God our priority? Is God the source of all our living?
Second, to be “salt of the earth and light of the world” is to surrender ourselves in service for others. To do so is to allow God to be our hands and feet by making use of our respective charisms that light may shine to others and that they would become like salt, a useful ingredient for change. Pope Benedict when asked about his calling to be Pope and the resistance that he may have to become pope, he said,
“It is like this: When a man says Yes during his priestly ordination, he may have some idea of what his own charism could be, but he also knows: I have placed myself into the hands of the bishop and ultimately of the Lord. I cannot pick and choose what I want. In the end I must allow myself to be led. I had in fact the notion that being a theology professor was my charism, and I was very happy when my idea became a reality. But it was also clear to me: I am always in the Lord’s hands, and I must also be prepared for things that I do not want…”
So the first question that we should ask ourselves first is this: What is your charism? When you find the answer to that question, follow it up with this, are you ready to surrender yourself and allow God to use you as an instrument for change?
Miss Universe 2016 - Top 6 Q&A
Third, to be “salt of the earth and light of the world” is to live in communion with Christ. I was touched by the Pope’s encounter with the victims of abuse in Malta as mentioned in this book:
“Actually I could not say anything special at all of them. I was able to tell them that it affects me very deeply. That I suffer with them [compassion]. And that was not just an expression, but it really touches my heart. And I was able to tell them that the Church will do everything possible so that this does not happen again, and that we intend to help them as well as we can. And finally, that we keep them in our prayers and ask them not to lose faith in Christ as the true light and in the living communion of the Church.”
The Church is built upon a solid foundation of communion. Communion makes us alive in the Church; communion unites us with Christ; and communion makes us realize our spiritual goals. If we lose track of this very vital ingredient, our cause for change will also shatter into pieces.
So, what are the "changes" that you've seen the last ten (10) years? For us Catholics, we do not ask the question, WHAT, rather, we ask the question, HOW. And so, allow me rephrase the question: How do we become agents/instruments of change in the next ten years of our existence? One thing is for sure, we are called for a particular task, that is to be “Salt of the earth and Light of the World.” It is our basic task. It is not something imposed upon us, but rather something that’s inherent in our identity as Christians.
Let us not cease to be to be such because ...
If we cease to be salt of the earth and light of the world, we refuse to be renewed into Christ.
If we cease to be salt of the earth and light of the world, we stay in our comfort zones and intolerance to the hand of God at work in our lives.
If we cease to be salt of the earth and light of the world, we stay in power at the expense of the common good not thinking of communion but rather division.
Like our Holy Father, let us read through the SIGNS OF THE TIMES. These are signs that we could not see by simply looking as when we look at traffic signs. They are signs SEEN through human experience and are discerned through reflection and prayer. Pray for that sign today, that God will direct you more clearly for what’s in store for you as SALT OF THE EARTH AND LIGHT OF THE WORLD.