Jesus appointed seventy-two disciples and “sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go” (Lk 10:1). From among his many disciples, Jesus also chose twelve as his apostles. Jesus taught his disciples; he also sent them as his apostles, his missionaries to the world. They were to speak in his name and conduct themselves as models of peace, charity and humility, proclaiming that “the Kingdom of God is near” (Lk 10:9).
Our Mission. The apostolic task of Jesus’ first followers has been handed on to us. As baptized Christians, we also must manifest the missionary zeal of the Apostles. Today’s Gospel challenges us to be “the salt of the earth and the light of the world” (Mt 5:13-14). We are to learn the ways of the Lord and proclaim the Good News to all peoples “in season and out of season” (2 Tim 4:2). We are to show the essence of our faith by our very lives.
As contemporary missionaries of our Lord, we are to challenge the culture of modern times and those things that do not promote life, justice, and the dignity of humanity. We have to courageously and faithfully hold on to the ways of the Gospel. We have many brothers and sisters who are devoting their lives in this endeavor, but the task is not theirs alone. It is our fraternal duty to support those who are offering their lives to bring the Good News to the “four corners of the earth” (Is 11:12).
Evangelization. Being salt and light, is needed in all the various contexts of our Christian life—in our homes, schools, and workplaces, and through various media available to us. We seek to be courageous witnesses of our faith to every individual we encounter. We seek to let everyone appreciate that God is alive and is present in our midst by bearing good fruits in our lives.
Reflecting on today’s Gospel, Pope Francis asks: “What must a Christian do in order for the salt not to run out, so that the oil to light the lamp does not come to an end?” The “battery” that a Christian uses to generate light, Francis explains, is simply “prayer.” We may do many fine things, but “if you do not pray, it will be dark and dimly lit.” Genuine prayer, prayer from the heart, assures that our light and salt will be in adequate supply.
An Outward Direction. Pope Francis continues: “Both salt and light are for others, not for oneself; salt does not give flavor to itself; light does not illumine itself.” Yet,
we may ask: How long does light and salt last as we continuously, generously give of ourselves? Francis notes: “That is where the power of God comes in.” In prayer we seek God’s abundant grace to “be light which illumines and salt that gives flavor and preserves.”
James H. Kroeger, M.M.
5th Sunday in Ordinary Time
0nly by my being ever mindful
of your loving presence
and giving flesh to your Living Word
O God, my life, my hope, my redeemer
I become Salt of the earth and
Light to the world.
Like salt may my words and deeds
preserve what is true, good and holy
as well as add spice to everyday life.
Like light may I illuminate the world
and show others the way that leads
to healing, to love, and to You, my God.
Lord Jesus, from your birth and baptism,
through your sermons and suffering,
and by your Passion and Death on the Cross,
you lived and died for others, especially the poor and despised.
Help me always to do the same.
Prayer by Father Joe Veneroso, M