A story which I’ve recently read will give us a foretaste of how salt and light must not lose its importance to our daily life.
One Sunday afternoon there were two women who just returned from the Church when they noticed commotion outside and looked into it. They saw a man surrounded by several people, bleeding from a covered wound on his body and trembling. People who surrounded him felt sorry for him and offered him money. One of the women thought; “instead of offering money why not call the ambulance to bring him to the hospital.” They immediately call the pastor’s attention inside the Church which just finished the service informing him of the situation outside. “OK, we’ll take him to the hospital,” the pastor said. But the pastor never appeared outside of the Church to see what was happening. One of the women noticed that there are policemen standing outside the Church and quickly told them about the wounded and bleeding man. The police officers responded immediately and requested the village if they could provide an ambulance so that the bleeding man could be treated. While waiting for the ambulance, the women prepared hot meals for the man, who was trembling from pain and hunger. The ambulance arrived, and the man was taken to the hospital for treatment.
The story could be simple to demonstrate gestures of reaching out to others. However, the words of the Prophet Isaiah are meant to inspire charitable actions. “Thus says the LORD: Share your bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless; clothe the naked when you see them, and do not turn your back on your own.” Charity that responds to our neighbors’ basic bodily needs; these are quite often regarded to as Corporal Works of Mercy. God works always with mercy; he moves the hearts of those who has the eyes to see those who are in need. Isaiah continues… “if you bestow your bread on the hungry and satisfy the afflicted; then light shall rise for you in the darkness, and the gloom shall become for you like midday.” Consolations and joy await us for accomplishing our goal and performing acts of mercy for others. First and foremost, we will not act as if we require the reward, but the Holy Spirit will move to inspire you to perform such an act of love. This might link to what St. Paul would like to express in the Letter to the Corinthians: that he didn’t come to persuade them with his own words, but with Spirit and power coming from Lord. He responded to a call and to a task, the “Task of Love”. Paul desired to proclaim the mystery of God, but he had only Jesus Christ to strengthen their faith and to rely on God’s power rather than human wisdom.

Jesus in today’s gospel is calling us to be the “salt” and the “light”. These words of Jesus were the continuation of his Sermon on the Mount where he proclaimed the beatitudes. How important is it to be the “salt” and “light” of the world? When I read this, it struck me as a challenge that Jesus expects more from me.

In ancient times, salt was used for a variety of purposes. Salt is derived from the Latin word “salarium,” which means salary. According to some Bible scholars, because salt was so valuable, they were paid in salt instead of money. This is what Jesus would like to convey that our worthiness as person must not lose its purpose. “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. Our saltiness will be measured not only by our achievements in life, successful projects, and bright ideas, but also by how much we love and how much we stretch our hands to those in need. In doing these, Jesus added, as the “light” of the world. Light that we receive in our baptism must shine brightly on the top of the hill so that others may also benefit. “Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” The flame of our light will reflect in our lives how we walk alongside others to share the light that we carry within us.  The salt and light complement each other as we journey together on the path of the synodal Church.

…in the end, the two women realized the man they helped was named JC, their eyes were opened, and that day they were able to touch and see Jesus in his wounded body and share their being as the salt and light inspired by His mercy… on call doing the task of love.