Radiating Christ

Scripture Reading

Jesus said to his disciples:
“You are the salt of the earth.
But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned?
It is no longer good for anything
but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
You are the light of the world.
A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.
Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket;
it is set on a lampstand,
where it gives light to all in the house.
Just so, your light must shine before others,
that they may see your good deeds
and glorify your heavenly Father.”
(Matthew 5:13-16)

 

Scripture Study

5:13-16 Jesus summons his disciples to be what God’s people were always meant to be: salt of the earth and light of the world. Salt was used to flavor and preserve food. Through living the beatitudes, Jesus’ disciples become salt of the earth, preserving goodness in the world. The disciple who does not embody the beatitudes is like salt that loses its taste: he becomes no longer good for anything. Similarly, the disciples are to be light of the world. In the Jewish tradition Israel was to be a light to the nations (Isa 60:1–3; Bar 4:2). Jesus calls his disciples to fulfill this role by living the beatitudes in such a way that the world may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.[1]

Scripture Reflection

Friends, in today’s Gospel Jesus uses the images of salt and light to show how we are to bring salvation to the world. In our rather privatized and individualistic culture, we tend naturally to think of religion as something for ourselves designed to make our lives richer or better. Now there is a sense in which that is true, but on the Biblical reading, religiosity is like salt, light, and an elevated city: it is meant not for oneself, but for others.

Perhaps we can bring these two together by saying that we find salvation for ourselves precisely in the measure that we bring God’s life to others. The point is that we followers of Jesus are meant to be salt, which effectively preserves and enhances what is best in the society around us. We effectively undermine what is dysfunctional in the surrounding culture.

We are also light by which people around us come to see what is worth seeing. By the very quality and integrity of our lives, we shed light, illumining what is beautiful and revealing what is ugly. The clear implication is that, without vibrant Christians, the world is a much worse place.

– Bishop Robert Barron

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“Dear Jesus, help me to spread Thy fragrance everywhere I go. Flood my soul with Thy spirit and life. Penetrate and possess my whole being so utterly that all my life may only be a radiance of Thine. Shine through me, and be so in me that every soul I come in contact with may feel Thy presence in my soul. Let them look up and see no longer me but only Jesus! Stay with me, and then I shall begin to shine as Thou shinest, so to shine as to be a light to others; the light, O Jesus, will be all from Thee; none of it will be mine; it will be Thou shining on others through me. Let me thus praise Thee in the way Thou dost love best by shining on those around me. Let me preach Thee without preaching, not by words but by my example, by the catching force of the sympathetic influence of what I do, the evident fullness of the love my heart bears to Thee. Amen.”

– Cardinal John Henry Newman, “Radiating Christ”

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

 

 

[1] Curtis Mitch and Edward Sri, The Gospel of Matthew, Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2010), 92.