Jesus challenges us in today’s gospel. He says that as a church community we are called to be salt, light, and a city set on a hill. In this reflection, I want to explain what Jesus means by comparing us to salt and the city set on a mountain top.
“You are the salt of the earth”. In the ancient world, salt was used for the preservation of food. When someone salted his food, it was to prevent spoilage and extend a person’s sustenance for life. Similarly, as Christians we preserve our faith in Jesus. For example, parents preserve the faith by teaching their children about God by their words and examples. Our church reminds us that parents, not clergy or CCD teachers, are the first teachers of their children in faith. They are the first ones to teach their kids key prayers such as the Our Father and Hail Mary. As they gather for meals they say prayers of grace. In our cultures, we gather as family for devotions like the rosary and certain novenas throughout the year. Whenever I do children’s blessings, I try to thank parents for setting a good example by bringing their children to mass. They invest time and energy to make sure their kids encounter Jesus at the mass. As the saying goes, “A family that prayer together, stays together”. We can likewise preserve our faith by learning more about it. At St. Jude, we try to have faith formation or bible study every month. This is an opportunity for people preserve and strengthen their relationship in Christ by learning more about Him. Yes, it does takes time and effort, but if it strengthens your faith, then it’s an investment well worth it. We preserve our faith in Jesus by setting good Christian examples for our children and youth, as well as learn more about our faith.
“A city set on a mountaintop cannot be hidden”. In Jesus’ time, cities located on high places gave people direction. Back then there were no GPS, internet, or google maps. When travelers saw a city on a mountain top, they could tell which way they going, either north, south, east, or west. By comparing us to a city on a mountain top, Jesus asks us to give others right direction by the way we live our lives. When people see us, they should see Christ. All our words, actions, and examples should direct others to Jesus. How sometimes sad and true though, do we hear someone say, “I see this person go to mass everyday, yet afterwards, his or her actions don’t reflect Jesus”. This does not mean we are all perfect or saints, but it should challenge us to strive for holiness. As Jesus said, “Be perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect”(Mt. 5:48). One of my favorite stories is of St. John Vianney, patron saint of Parish Priests. A protestant minister heard much about him and decided to visit him. When the minister returned home, he told others, “I have just met God in man”. This is our goal. When people encounter us, they should likewise encounter Christ. Our words and actions should show the selflessness, charity, kindness, gentleness, and humility of Jesus to the world. May we strive everyday to be the “salt of the earth” by preserving our faith in daily life and be the “city on a mountaintop”, which shows others directions to God.