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3-Point Mass prep: Jesus’ task for us

salt and light of the world

Sr. Amata CSFN

Fr. Paweł Rytel-Andrianik - published on 02/04/23

From our daily lives, we see our important mission in the world.

The Gospel for this Sunday is Matthew 5:13-16

What do salt, light and the city on a mountain mean to us?

1.     A word of introduction

Jesus brings three things to our attention in Sunday’s Gospel: salt, city and light. We know these things from our daily lives. Jesus uses them to tell us something very important about our lives. 

2.     Keywords

You are the salt of the earth

Salt in the time of Jesus was considered essential for life. This is true for us today as well. It adds flavor to food and preserves it. In the Jerusalem Temple, salt was used during the food offerings. In the past, the common consumption of salt signified an acknowledgment of an important agreement, called the covenant of salt before the Lord.

Salt, then, is something that cannot be missing from our life in all dimensions: in the needs of daily life, in worshiping God, and in our relationships with others. Jesus also relates salt to our mission in the world, which is to give God’s flavor to our lives and those of others.

You are the light of the world

Light is needed every day. Especially when it becomes dark. In ancient times people often used olive lamps. Compared to today’s electric light, they gave a rather faint light, so they had to be exposed. Light also played an important role during Jewish holidays. Candles that were lit in the Jerusalem Temple, in synagogues, or during the Sabbath in homes brought joy and were a sign of God’s guidance. Jesus emphasizes the role of light: It is to illuminate, make visible, show the way, and be a guiding point. This is precisely the mission of Christians in the world: to show God’s ways and to be a light in the darkness of this world.

A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden

Jerusalem is a city set on a mountain, and the highest point in the city was the Temple. The Bible repeatedly describes Jerusalem as the chosen city where God wants to dwell, and which is supposed to shine a good example to other peoples and draw them to God. In the same way, Christians should lead others to God. Just as Jerusalem is a holy city, believers in Jesus are to shine with the holiness of life.

3.     Today

Jesus gives each of us the task to be salt, light, and city on a mountain for the people we meet every day. Jesus is with us and we can always ask him how to do this, and ask for help. How do we want to carry out our mission in the coming week?

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