These words, of course, are part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. He spoke these words, remember, to the poor, the outcast, to those who were mourning, to the persecuted, etc. He told them that they were blessed and that the kingdom of heaven belonged to such as them. And then He told them that they were salt and light. Now even today, 2000 years after He spoke these words we still appreciate salt and light as valuable commodities. However, I think that we have no idea just how valuable salt and light were to the people of Jesus’ time.  To them, salt was not just something that improved the flavor of food. It also preserved it. Without salt, food would spoil and people would have nothing to eat. Salt was so valuable that it was used as salary for Roman soldiers.  Even today, we need to realize that we can survive without gold but we cannot survive without salt.  Today we have all kinds of light all around us and at our finger tips. In Jesus’ time people literally lived in darkness. Again, try to imagine, how these lowliest of people must have felt when they heard Jesus’ words and know that He is saying them to us as well.  It is truly amazing that the Lord sees us as blessed, as salt and as light. Notice that He does not say, “You are like salt and light,” or “You should strive to become, like salt and light.”  No, He says, “You are the salt of the earth…you are the light of the world.” He makes a definitive statement.  But, then, the more I think about it, the more it sounds like to me that He is giving us a command, more than He is making a statement.  He is commanding us to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.  He is charging us to be everything that salt and light was to the people of His time.  And this we must do during this season of Ordinary Time so that our light will shine brightly before others and that they may give glory to God.

AuthorCathy Remick