Things To Ponder  


Things to Ponder

 I use this page to share messages of an inspirational nature, or simply something to ponder. It is my hope that you will  always be inspired.

Homily Reflections - Matthew 5:13-16 - 5th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Introduction: Discipleship: A Call to be Salt and Light

This Sunday’s Gospel from Matthew’s Sermon on the Mount immediately follows the Beatitudes. In this well-known passage, Jesus uses common, essential, everyday things – salt, light, and lamps – to illustrate the path of discipleship.

What metaphors could we use today to illustrate our call to discipleship?

“You are the light of the world.” It is interesting that Matthew highlights the first word, “you,” to contrast Matthean Christians with their counterparts in the synagogue. This also is a bulls-eye word to us today! For this is not an abstract or intellectual command but a call for our own total involvement within our world community.

In the ancient world, salt was a critical necessity. – used for seasoning, preservation, and purifying. It was also used to ratify covenants and in liturgical functions. Amazingly, to eat salt with someone even signified a bond of friendship and loyalty! In telling his disciples, “You are the salt of the earth,” Jesus drew on many of these symbols. For disciples preserve, purify, and judge – drawing out the savor of God’s love in the world. Likewise, all followers of Jesus’ Way are called to be like salt and to give taste, zest within their daily environment. As salt is inserted into our foods, we also must boldly insert our Christian vision and values into our society. We cannot afford to withdraw, separate, and hide ourselves from the challenges we face today.

What “salt” are you inserting into your world today? What “salt” can our parish community insert?

Disciples are also called to be “the light of the world,” like a city set on a mountain that cannot be hidden. Interestingly, the metaphor has a political twist since Cicero described Rome as a “light to the whole world.” It is Jesus’ “beatitude-way of life” that is light to the world, not the imperial domination system that often disrespects people.

And just as the city on a mountain cannot be hidden, a lamp is not lit and then immediately extinguished. This metaphor is striking in its obvious implications for affective discipleship for us. We are each called to be a “light,” to make ourselves visible so that people around us can see our God working through our words and deeds. In short, to make our baptismal call to “beatitude living” real!

Where can you be a “light” to others in your life? Where can our parish community be a “light?”

“Yet there is something more to these metaphors. Is it really possible for salt to lose its flavor? Or is it possible to hide a city on a mountain? Would anyone dare waste a lamp’s fuel or run the risk of setting a house on fire by putting a lamp ‘under’ a basket? Jesus’ rhetorical questions remind his audience that as true disciples, it is simply impossible not to be witnesses in the world, just as light cannot help but be light and salt cannot help but season.” -Mahri Leonard-Fleckman

I would invite you to read and ponder the words from the Gospel of Matthew 5:13-16.

What word or words caught your attention?
What in this passage comforted/challenged you?

Further Questions and Reflections:

“But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned?” How can I take time away to restore and renew my faith?

“A city on a mountain cannot be hidden.” When have I tried to hide my beliefs to avoid criticism?

“Your light must shine before others.” How do my actions point toward God instead of myself?

Ponder: Salt should flavor but not overpower a meal, and light should illuminate for the sake of its surroundings. Similarly, to be a disciple is to focus not on ourselves but on Christ. Our actions are not about self-glory but about the glory of God.

Deacon David

Deacon David Suley
St. Patrick Catholic Church
Rockville, Maryland

Published with Permission





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