Word Alive–Fr. Bel San Luis, SVD February 9, 2020 /5A Sun. in Ordinary Time
CHRISTIANS AS SALT AND LIGHT
A doctor asked a patient: “Why did you slap the guy you were talking with?” The angry man replied: “Imagine, he saw me very nervous about the result of my nCorV test and he still said: ‘THINK POSITIVE!’”
Do you know what’s the hardest to cure and longest sickness is? St. Philip Neri said: “It’s human pride. It dies 15 minutes after one stops breathing.”
Fr. Joseph Dau Vu, SVD, was a Catholic chaplain of the Vietnamese “boat people” refugees in Morong, Bataan. He related to me how he, together with 55 compatriots, slipped out of communist Saigon on an old, decrepit motorized boat and sailed out, not knowing where they could find refuge.
The “boat priest” reminisced with profound sadness: “When people along the coast from neighboring countries saw us, they attacked, robbed, and exploited us. They even towed our boat far away, cut the rope, leaving our boat bobbing in the deep water. But when Filipino fishermen saw our predicament, they gave food and welcomed us to their shore. “Why are Filipinos different?” Fr. Dau Vu asked and answered: “It is because Filipinos are Christians.”
In this Sunday gospel, Jesus tells his disciples “You are the salt of the earth” (Mt 5,13). Beside adding taste to food, salt preserves it from spoiling. In a world growing more and more callous, merciless, and materialistic because of greed and the “I-don’t-care” attitude which the heartless people showed towards the Vietnamese, we followers of Christ are exhorted to PRESERVE the gospel values taught by the Lord.
At a meeting some young people were discussing the text, “You are the salt of the earth.” Everyone suggested what the meaning of “salt” was in their experiences. A Christian girl volunteered an experience none of the others had. She said: “Salt creates thirst.” There was a sudden hush in the room. Everyone was thinking. “Have I ever make anyone THIRSTY for the Lord Jesus Christ?
“You are the LIGHT of the world” is another image Christ uses. “Let your light shine before men so that they may see your goodness and give praise to your heavenly Father” (Mt 5,16).
Note that Jesus is not telling us to parade our light or trumpeting our achievements before other people. He’s simply telling us that we should BE a light to them. There’s a big difference between “parading” our light and “being” a light. Some people do charity in order to win people’s approval—not to mention, win votes! But a true Christian should do it to win people to the heavenly Father.
ASK YOURSELF: Do you radiate light of good deeds? God has given you extraordinary gifts like business acumen, an inherited big bank account or a prime lot. Isn’t it only proper that you use these free gifts not only for self-glorification and enjoyment but also share with the underprivileged and less fortunate?
Does my Christian faith make a big difference in an environment where corrupt practices, indifference, and injustices are rampant? It is an awesome task to transform a secular order but, like the example of those Filipino fishermen and many other good Christians, it takes only a pinch of salt to have a tremendous effect, and it takes only a tiny flame of light to dispel darkness over a vast area.
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