YEAR B: HOMILY FOR TUESDAY OF THE TENTH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: WE ARE SALT, WE ARE LIGHT; THE WORLD CANNOT SURVIVE WITHOUT US.
BY: Fr. Evaristus Abu
“You are the salt of the earth…You are the light of the world.” Matthew 5:13-14.
The first thing we must take cognisance of in today’s Gospel passage is that Jesus is not admonishing us to become salt or to become light; he is not begging us to be salt or light. No. Jesus is telling us who we are already. Like a child who grew up without knowing his parents, Jesus is giving us our identity card; telling what we are by virtue of our association with him.
As Socrates would say: “Man, know thyself.” When you know yourself, your life is a lot easier and you then begin to understand why certain things happen to you and how you ought to respond in any situation you find yourself.
When you know you are salt, then you know what to do when people are unhappy, miserable and hopeless around you. Salt does not ask questions in the kitchen, the moment it is put into the pot of soup, it enters immediately and does its job; it always does its job; it never complains. You are a sweetener; a bringer of joy, not pain; a carrier of good news, not gossips; a peacemaker, not a keeper of grudges.
In the time of Jesus, salt played the role of the deep freezer – salt was the major preservative in the home. It was used to prevent things from going bad. As salt, our role in this world is to preserve it from decay and corruption. We are the last hope of the world. Even if the world decides to turn its values upside down; even when evil become the norm and sin becomes honourable in the sight of men, we are to preserve goodness, truth, righteousness, morality and holy living.
Abraham begged God not to destroy a whole city and God promised him that if he could find only ten men in the city who were righteous, He would not destroy it. Genesis 18:20-33. As salt, we are the ten righteous persons left to prevent calamity from happening in our world. This is why we should never be discouraged in our walk with God, this is why we should never get tired of doing what is right, of speaking the truth, of living morally upright lives despite the pressure from the world.
We are the Light of the world. We are not to copy from the world; instead, we are pacesetters. We teach the world how to dress, we teach them how to behave, we teach them how to relate to people; we teach the world how to live. Light does not talk, its presence changes everything. As the light of the world, we don’t make noise; we simply appear; we transgress the norm, we raise the standard; we do the unpopular, we lead with examples even with the little good deeds we do every day.
Being a salt and a light does not necessarily involve very big things; even very little acts such as kindness to a stranger in need of food and water may just be all that God demands of us. This is exactly what we see play out in today’s first reading. The widow of Zarephath didn’t have much but she believed Elijah’s word and gave the only thing she had left. As salt and light, we continue to help people even though we know there are fraudsters out there trying to take advantage of our charity.
Yes, there are many people who fake disability to beg. There are many who tell lies just to beg. There are many who even force others into begging. But imagine what this world would be if no one ever cared to another anymore? If we are become self-centred, if those who can help suddenly vanish, it means no one us when we are genuinely in need someday.
Don’t worry about the bad things people do, don’t worry about the level of immorality and evil in our world today. You just be the last man standing. Be the one to help a disabled person climb the stairs. Get up so that an elderly person can sit. Return lost money to its owner. Speak the truth. Preserve your virginity till the day of your marriage. Be a trustworthy person; do not desire or take what is not yours. Never utter insults or harmful words from your lips. Forgive easily and completely from your heart.
You are the only hope of survival for this world. Like the widow of Zarephath, we are in the world just to prevent Elijah from dying. Our existence is not by coincidence. Our purpose is to be salt and light to this world that it may not crumble apart.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, make me conscious of my true identity always and act accordingly. Amen.
*Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Tuesday of the 10th Week of Ordinary Time. Bible Study: 1 Kings 17:7-16, Psalm 4:2-8, Matthew 5:13-16).*