Sunday, February 9, 2014

A Little Something Extra...Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Salt and Light: A Meditation

Jesus tells us in today's Gospel that we must be the salt of the earth and the light of the world. Pause for a few minutes today to reflect on these two images, using the following points and questions to guide your meditation if you so choose.

1. Salt was extremely important in the ancient world. It was used to preserve foods that would otherwise have spoiled without refrigeration. Christians, too, must serve as a preservative in the world to keep it from spoiling through moral corruption. Ponder your moral choices. How are you acting as salt to preserve the world?

2. Salt not only preserved food; in some cases, it was so valuable that it was used as wages for soldiers. Christians, too, should seek to show their value to the world through their love. How do you love others?

3. Salt was also a sign employed to seal important agreements. Those making contracts would eat salt together to show their commitment to their deal. Christians are living signs of the agreement God has made with the world, the New Covenant brought by Jesus. How are you a messenger of the bond of self-giving love between God and His family?

4. Jesus says that if salt loses its flavor, it is good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. In ancient times, salt contained many impurities, and if those impurities became dominant, salt could lose it flavor. People would then throw it on walkways for better traction. Christians have to watch out so their impurities don't overcome them. Are your impurities making you flavorless and preventing you from being salt for the world?

5. Light in the darkness required work in ancient days. No one could simply flip a switch and illuminate a room or a whole house. If a Christian wants to be a light for the world, then, it will take some effort. It will involve action, work, exertion, and perhaps even exhaustion. How are you being a light to the world through your actions?

6. Light is not the same thing as the instrument that channels the light. A lamp, for instance, is something different than the light it throws off. Christians are to be lights to the world, but does the light they give off really come from them? Or it is, perhaps, God's light shining through them, using them as instruments to stream His brightness to the world?

7. A city on a hill is visible to all who look in its direction. It cannot be hidden. Is your Christianity visible?

8. No one puts a lamp under a bed or a basket. That would be a waste of light. Do you ever waste your energy in pursuits that are sinful or useless?

9. Jesus says that we must make our lights visible so that people may see the good works that we do and give glory to God. Christians must examine their motivations. Are you doing good works so that others may focus on you, or are you making sure that God gets the glory?

10. Make a list of several ways in which you can follow Jesus' command and become the salt of the earth and a light for the world.

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