2.5.23 5th S. Homily: Salt & Light

Today’s homily is for 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time, February 5, 2023, and the readings can be found by clicking here. The video of the homily is here soon.

One of my favorite church songs growing up was This Little Light of Mine. You remember it. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine, this little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine. Jesus is the light of the world. A light that no darkness can overcome. When a person is baptized into Christ Jesus, they become a child of the light. The parents and godparents light a candle and that symbolizes what the child has become and they promise to keep that flame burning brightly. 

Jesus tells his disciples today that they are the light of the world. Christians are called to be light in a world of darkness. In a world filled with darkness and sin, Christians bring light and goodness and truth. A campfire brings warmth and security and s’mores! We are called to be warm, and strong, and generous with the sweet things in life. 

When a bedroom or house is filled with darkness we turn on the lights! You bump into fewer things that way! The light brings certainty, and safety. Christians too should know what they’re about, speak words of bring stability and constancy, and provide a safe haven for others who too often do not find themselves on solid ground. 

And what I love the most is that when two flames come together, the new flame is greater than the two individual flames. And when hundreds of flames come together you’ve got a bon fire! The first is marriage and Christian fellowship. The second is the church gathered together–a city on a hill that cannot be hidden. It is a beacon of light shining out for others who are lost and afraid to find welcome and rest. Are we those people? Are we that church? 

Jesus tells his disciples they are the salt of the earth. We use salt to bring out the flavor in foods, and we also use it to preserve meat and fish. The Portuguese love their salted cod, and you’ve heard of salted pork, or beef jerky. Before refrigeration, salt was how you kept meat from turning. It is a preservative. That’s what Christians are called to be. We hold onto what is good in a world that wants to throw the baby out with the bath water! A world that wants change for the sake of change. We exercise the virtue of prudence and pump the brakes a little bit. We say slow down young buck, there is a lot that’s good here–let’s not move forward so fast. We are naturally conservative in our approach to institutions, to government, and to our Church. We hold on. 

Salt isn’t just a preservative, however, have you ever put salt on your fruit? A bit of salt on melon is delicious. When I cook good steak, salt is the only seasoning I use. Salt brings out the flavor in what we eat. Salt makes things amazing. That’s what Christians do. We bring out the goodness at work. We make our schools more fun. With goodness and truth we make everywhere we are healthy and wholesome, filled with spirit and life.

Wherever Jesus went he brought people joy. We should be that way too. We make our schools better, our city better, and our world better. When Jesus called his disciples salt and light he was giving them their mission in the world. He wanted them to go out and bring security, stability, hope, peace, and rest for the weary. He also wanted his disciples to preserve the good in the world. To hold fast and stand firm against a rapidly changing world. And finally, Jesus wants us to be awesome. To make every place we go more awesome, more inviting, more delicious. That’s what we are called to be, salt and light. We should never cover our light–or hide it under a bushel basket. We should let this little light shine, let it shine, let it shine.

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