In listening to this gospel, Jesus uses two elements we are familiar with: salt and light. But do we really know, or have we just accepted, the thoughts we know about these elements?
Let’s take another look at salt. Does salt lose its flavor? Any chemistry student can tell you that salt cannot lose its flavor as long as no impurities are added to it. Our table salt has iodine added to it. With this impurity, the salt will lose its flavor in five years. As long as the salt has no impurities, it will not lose its flavor.
So what was Jesus talking about, throwing away the salt when it becomes tasteless? Jesus tells us to be salt of the earth. In other words, we must flavor the lives of others. How do we do that? Last week we just talked about the Beatitudes. If we live the Beatitudes, we give flavor to the lives of others. It is when we allow impurities, or when we sin, to enter our lives, we lose the ability to flavor the lives of others. Worse, we may even put the impurities, or sins we have committed, to enter into the lives of others. Then we will all be thrown into the street to be trampled on. We strive to remain pure.
Let’s look at the light. I was once told that you can see a single candle burning at night ten miles away. Where I grew up, the land is very flat. So I decided to try this idea. I lit a candle and put it on my small stool. Then I drove ten miles away. While driving I could always see the candle in the mirror of my car. Ten miles away I stopped and looked back. Yes, I could see the flicker of the flame.
As Jesus says, you cannot hide the light. In baptism you became the light of Christ. You too must bring this light of Christ into the world. You also have the power to hide or cover your light. You cover your light through the darkness of sin. You also have the power to extinguish your light. You cover yourself with the darkness of sin. People who live in the light are seen in the light. Those who live in darkness are not seen. They tend to hide themselves. They don’t want to be seen.
Prepare for the coming of Lent now. Plan how to present your light to others. Get rid of the darkness in your life now. Be salt and light!
May the Lord bless you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen