Gospel according to Matthew (5:13-16)
JESUS said to his disciples: “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
“You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”
A young professional, who was having difficulty in many areas of his life, was feeling angry and frustrated. When he could no longer stand it, he went to an adoration chapel and raged at God. “Everywhere I look, I see hurting and lonely people,” he said. “Don’t you care that so many are suffering from hunger, corruption, abuse, and neglect?”
The young man continued in the same vein for a long time. Finally, exhausted by his tirade, he said, “God, I hope you will do something about this soon!” And then deep in his heart the young man heard a voice saying, “I already have… I made you!”
How often do we find ourselves pointing an accusing finger at others when something goes wrong in our midst? We readily criticize or blame our civil and religious leaders—our parish priest, government officials, teachers, and others. And yet, when we are called upon to contribute our time, skills or resources, how many of us willingly do so? It would seem that we find it easier to come up with reasons not to get involved than to take on a responsibility. When pressed to do something, we are quick to say, “lt’s not my job.”
In today’s Gospel, Jesus calls his disciples “the salt of the earth… the light of the world” and tells them that their “light must shine before others, that they see the good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” This is a clear reminder that we have each received gifts from God. Some of the gifts are readily discernible. But others are but potentials that must be discovered, explored, and honed. These gifts—talents, skills, opportunities—must be used not only for our own good or that of those who are near and dear to us but in the service of all who are in need.
With our own unique gifts and characteristics each of us is in a position to contribute to the mission of the Church. We are encouraged not only to find out what our talents and skills are but also to put these to good use in ways that could serve the common good. It is when we share what we have that we truly give thanks and glorify the Father who is truly generous with his gifts.
Like the young man in our story, we may sometimes feel overwhelmed by the amount of suffering we see around us. But there is no need for this. God has given us the talents and the skills and continues to pour out grace and blessings. As we begin to do our share in solving the problems that we face we serve as encouragement and inspiration to others.
We truly become living witnesses of the Gospel and of God’s bountiful love.
Someone once said that there are two kinds of persons in the world—the Pessimist and the Optimist. The Pessimist is limited by doubts, confined by fear, and restricted by uncertainties. The Optimist, on the other hand, is freed by faith, stimulated by hope, and encouraged by confidence. While the Optimist may not have much to share, the Pessimimist cannot give himself at all.
— Fr. Albert L. Bernal, SSP