Gospel Meditation

“You are the light of the world.” Speaking to his followers, Jesus tells them of the influence they are meant to have. Like the seasoning that gives food its flavor, they are to be “the salt of the earth” and like a lamp on a lampstand that “gives light to all in the house.” Clearly, their influence on the people around them is meant to be positive and substantial. But what is the source of this irreplaceable influence?
Elsewhere in the Gospels, Jesus declares that he is “the light of the world” (cf. Jn 8:12). So when he tells his disciples that “your light must shine before others,” he is speaking about the light that comes from following him, from believing in him, from living their lives for him and with him. The light of Christ brightens the world, showing us the truth and meaning of our existence. And to the extent that we have that light in our hearts, it naturally spreads out to impact those around us.
So, today we must ask ourselves whether or not we are shining the way we are meant to as Christians. Do we brighten up our families, our workplaces, our neighborhoods, and our parishes? Are people encouraged, inspired, edified, and supported by our presence? Do we bring the kind of flavor that enriches life with a taste of the authentic truth, beauty, and goodness that comes from God alone? Or have we become a bit bland, like salt that “loses its taste” or light that is hidden “under a bushel basket”? It’s important to be on guard against any tendency to let our faith be reduced to a mere routine or ritual. Rather, when we nurture our faith to be a living force that defines us and our actions, it will be a source of joy and renewal not only for us, but for the whole world.