February 5th 2023 Fifth Sunday of the Year


May be an image of tree and outdoors

Salt had a number of purposes in the Middle East of the first century. In a land without refrigeration it was used to preserve food and as a flavour enhancer. It was used to prevent erosion in the roofs of houses and Roman soldiers were paid in salt. The word salary is derived from the word for salt. If a soldier did not do his work, he would not get all his salt. Hence, we use the phrase ‘he is not worth his salt’ if someone does not do his work properly. The people who gathered around Jesus on that little hill in Palestine would have understood all this. His image was striking; His message was clear. His followers are charged with the task of bringing the flavour of life to others, preserving His truth on increasingly alien soil and transforming the world’s culture, rather than conforming to it. The image of light speaks to all cultures and all ages. Light is not a private energy. It is meant to be shared. It dispels darkness and it attracts. It guides and it warns. The life of the disciple should reflect the Light of Jesus to the world. It should evoke curiosity in others. It should move them to take a ‘second look’. Nothing points to God more clearly than the witness of a disciple doing good. A Chinese Christian approached a missionary once and proceeded to quote the Sermon on the Mount word for word from beginning to end. ‘How did you manage to do that’ enquired the missionary. ‘I spent the last year trying to live it’ replied the man. ‘In the world’s nights the Christian witness brings God’s dawn’. (Pope Francis )