Gospel Reflection for the 5th Sunday Ordinary Time Year A – February 5th 2017
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘You are the salt of the earth. But if salt becomes tasteless, what can make it salty again? It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out to be trampled underfoot by men.
‘You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine in the sight of men, so that, seeing your good works, they may give the praise to your Father in heaven.’
Galilee had a big fishing industry around the time of Jesus, and so many gospel stories are about fish and how to catch them. Fish was exported to many parts of the Roman Empire, well salted to keep it fresh. So being ‘salt for the earth’ would be a relevant image to the people who were listening to Jesus.
We say sometimes that someone is ‘the salt of the earth’. We mean he/she is dependable, follows through on things begun, makes a contribution to the locality and lives by their beliefs. Parishes and communities have been built and upheld by people who are the “salt of the earth”. We thank God for these people in our parish and family, workplaces and schools.
How to keep ourselves ‘salty’? By sharing in the Mass, by daily prayer in a method that suits each individual, by doing good. Jesus gives the bread of life: we give it its flavour wherever we are.
The bread of God needs the life-giving salt of our lives.
With this sort of commitment, we become also light to the world, because the light we shine is the light of Jesus shining from within. Pope Francis often says to ‘allow Jesus out’. May our lives this week and always be strong like salt and encouraging like light?
Be a light for me, dear Lord. May I bring the light of love to all I meet!
Donal Neary SJ
Fr Donal Neary SJ is editor of the Sacred Heart Messenger
Reflections for Year A, first published in other years in Logos Missalette, have now been published in book form:
Gospel Reflections for Sundays of Year A: Matthew, Messenger Publications 2016, €9.99
Order online at www.messenger.ie, or in Veritas and other booksellers.