Sell, salt and light are two excellent images to use for our scripture meditation today (Matthew 5:13-16). Let’s approach them this way: what are two things that we take for granted, two things that we really need – one to survive, and the other to enhance the quality of our life? Salt and light! We can’t live without a little salt in our diet; and sunlight or artificial light certainly helps us live our life more comfortably. Those vision-impaired people should be admired for the way they adapt as well as they can, and sharpen their other senses as a way of compensation.
This is not about fancy medical terms like nephrotic syndrome or hyponatremia, which were unknown in Jesus’ time. It is simply this practical point: If salt ever lost its “saltiness” or taste, it would become useless to us. Food would not taste the same, and salt could not even be used as a catalyst for many other industrial uses. We would need to get rid of the worthless salt. Similarly, If we hide a lamp under a basket, it becomes useless to us and we would, in effect, become vision-impaired to a certain degree. (It would also be an act of clear stupidity).
That is the point Jesus is making: if you do not live out your life in a Christian way then you are sort of useless and even stupid! Everyone ought to be able to see your virtues being regularly used for the benefit of others. The first reading (Isaiah 58:7-10) is right on the ball with a great example of “using your light”: share your bread with the hungry! If we regularly help the poor, even if anonymously, then we are living out a virtue—a spiritual attitude that will help us grow in all the virtues, and that will be reflected in our daily dealings with others.
Friends we should never forget that our mission is to BE the salt and light of the world! At your baptism, you were given a lighted candle to remind you of your duty and responsibility to BE the light of Christ!