“You are the salt of the earth.
But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned?
You are the light of the world.
A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden."
Salt and light are two common everyday elements that we won't usually give much attention. We may not give much credit to their presence in our daily life, and yet, their absence is made much more conspicuous. We may not give them much thought when they're there, but when they're absent, we almost immediately note it. We immediately react when our sinigang is too bland for want of salt, and we will immediately react when somebody turns off the lights in a room that we're still in. In short, these are two elements that are so ordinary, and yet so indispensable, so noticeable in their ordinariness.
Since ancient times, salt was a necessity of life and was used since ancient times in many cultures as a seasoning, a preservative, a disinfectant, a component of ceremonial offerings, and as a unit of exchange. The Bible contains numerous references to salt. In various contexts, it is used metaphorically to signify permanence, loyalty, durability, fidelity, usefulness, value, and purification. Concerning light, its importance is so evident we don't need to elaborate on this. what could be said of these two things is that they stand out, despite of the fact of their being so common in our daily experience.
The words of the Lord in the Gospel this Fifth Sunday are addressed to His disciples, and with them he likens his followers to these two elements just mentioned. His choice of metaphor is well-intentioned, and clearly shows us in what way he challenges his disciples to be with the relation to the world around them. Generally, the Lord points out the fact that His followers were meant to stick out in the ordinariness of their life. the Christian is one who simply stands out, he is not the one who flows passively downstream with the current but rather is better one as one who swims against it. Among men, the Christian cannot help but stand out because of his convictions; while not calling attention to himself since he is like any ordinary person, anxious to go about in his daily business, nevertheless his deep personal convictions which are firmly rooted in faith in Jesus Christ makes him stand out.
Basically, the follower is called out to a life of witness. The Christian has been given a gift that is not meant to be hidden, but which was meant to be divulged in society. Like salt he is meant to be an active agent in society, purifying with the life-giving Gospel the milieu in which he lives in, preserving it from moral decay, giving life because of the Life that he carries within him. As light, he is to dispel the darkness of ignorance, indifference and hatred all around him, just as the Responsorial Psalm would say: The just man is light in the darkness for the upright.
Where it to be otherwise, the Christian would have to do a lot of soul-searching, as he would not be doing precisely that which he has been called to do: to be a generator of God's Presence and Truth in the world. The Gospel makes us ask ourselves: Am I really living as salt of the earth? Does my life allow the light of the Lord to pass through me so as to illumine the reality which I daily touch? This is true especially as we realize that Christ's presence is to generated and multiplied in the world, in society, in our communities, and this generating needs our collaboration and action.
This is much needed nowadays in our Filipino society, which is rocked by so many issues of moral corruption. This is relevant especially now as more than ever, Filipino Catholics need to make a stand in protecting life, especially those who are most defenseless: the unborn. In this Pro-Life Sunday, we Catholics need to stand up against the bills being considered in Congress which are anti-life, keeping in mind that in reality, these are not merely Catholic issues, but moral ones, which therefore include every person regardless of creed or social standing. As Catholics, we know that we cannot take this sitting down. It is not possible to be a true Christian, a true Catholic, and yet remain silent (and much less endorse or support) these bills.
May Mary, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Pro-Life Movement, intercede for us!