Is 58:7-10:3; Cor 2:1-5; Mt 5: 13-16
Salt and Light. Salt preserves and purifies. Light shines us forward. The message today is simple: Our good works preserve and purify us, and they are also good for others.
Let your light shine. We have recent literal examples, in our midst. Just before Christmas our prayer shrine was lit up. Added to this is the illumination of our church facade and bell tower. We are a light upon the hill. Also our neighbors at Campbellsville University lit up their new clock tower. It’s like a northeast gateway to Harrodsburg. These things tell passersby what our two institutions are about, proclaiming Christ for all to see. It’s a symbol, of course, of our good deeds. They light the way before us and, more importantly, before others as well.
A recent example: on Monday, this week, I was doing some paperwork at the kitchen table in the house we are purchasing for the next pastor while some of our parishioners on the facilities committee and the house inspector were inspecting the basement. They were talking with the current owner. I heard them send her upstairs to talk with me. I needed to finish the work that I was doing. Still, when she approached me, I had to decide to lay aside my work. She needed to talk. Ministry happens in the interruptions. It was a bit of “death to self” for me. This is an ordinary way we can show others that we are Christians, giving them the attention they need. You do this often. Shine your light, like the stars (Phil 2:15-16)
Yet another example from this week: I was copied on an email regarding our Christmas bazaar on a notice to appear in our diocesan newspaper, Crossroads.
“Dear Deacon Skip, …I am submitting a request for you to post the following photo and caption in the Crossroads newspaper in regard to a portion of our proceeds being donated to a local charity. …One of the major recipients of the profits was the Christian Life Center. A check for $1441.58 Thank You, Warren Jackson”
This throws light on our care for the needy. It is letting our light shine. It is Christ’s light on situations. Our acts can reveal a loving God, and they help others to believe in a loving God, especially to those who are hungry, homeless, naked as the first reading tells.
So how does the salt come in? It purifies us; that is, cleanses us from sin. We all have sin. Isaiah tells us today: “Your wound will be healed and your light will shine.” Our good deeds purify our souls. They are like salt, cleansing us of sin, of all this is petty in us. They take time off purgatory; our good deeds will preserve us and in other words, “merit us salvation,” as the Eucharistic Prayer states. So go, shine like the stars. Let your light shine.