5th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME (A)
Sunday 5 February 2023
Matt 5:13 -16
“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot. “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid. No one after lighting a lamp puts it under the bushel basket, but on the lamp-stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.”
After having proclaimed the Beatitudes, Jesus continues his discourse with affirmations and indications concerning a disciple’s very being: being salt of the earth and light of the world. But what are the biblical characteristics of these elements?
In the Book of Sirach (39:26), salt is listed among the basic necessities of human life, even before flour! Salt is used to bring flavour and conserve food. But it is interesting to note how God establishes a covenant with Aaron and his descendants in Numbers 18:19. It is often translated as “an inviolable, everlasting covenant”. However, the original Hebrew reads berit melach olam: literally meaning “covenant of salt” with salt symbolising faithfulness!
The presence of disciples in the world is therefore compared to salt in food and nourishment: called to bring taste and flavour to life, but also to live with eyes of wisdom, open to eternal life, and to divine Providence who governs all things… but not forgetting faithfulness.
“The Lord is my light” are the opening words in Psalm 27:1. 1Jn 1:5 exclaims that “God is light”. In Psalm 119:105, the psalmist expresses that “Your [God’s] word is a lamp to my feet”. According to Isaiah’s prophecy, whoever practises and teaches the Word is “light to the nations” (Isa 42:6; 49:6). Clearly, this prophecy refers to the Messiah. It is the reason why that, in Jn 8:12, Jesus says, “I am the light of the world!” We therefore participate in the light of Jesus the Messiah, and in Him we are light together with our brothers and sisters.
Let’s occupy and commit ourselves, then, to be salt and light, in remaining faithful to Him!