ARE YOU GOING BLAND OR DIM?

This homily, based on Matthew 5:13-16, was delivered at the EAPI Chapel.

In today’s Gospel reading, our Lord offers us two familiar images of how His disciple should make a difference in the world: salt and light. Like salt to water, we are called to change the world by giving it flavor. Like light to night, the good deeds we do are expected to serve as a shining example to inspire others to do the same.

salt-and-light

As always, our Lord could not have put it more clearly or vividly. We get it immediately. Of course if salt has lost its taste, it will have lost its use. This is what salt does! Of course if light is hidden under a bushel basket, it will serve no purpose. What is light for if not to shine in the darkness? Likewise if a disciple does not make a difference in the world, there is no point in remaining the Lord’s disciple. The message to the disciple is loud and clear: Don’t be coy. Make a difference by doing good and inspiring others to do the same. Salten the earth and shine on the world.

What the Lord doesn’t mention is that discipleship–like all things human and temporal–undergoes seasons and cycles. We aren’t always at our saltiest, nor are we always at our brightest. Our relationship with the Lord and our prayer lives go through their ups and downs: Sometimes they’re strong and intense, others they–for reasons both of our doing and beyond–they wane and waver.

Also, sometimes we may be working very hard and trying our very best to do our share in following the Lord, but people and things get in the way: Events transpire to keep our efforts from yielding their desired fruits, or worse, other people conspire and–for various agendas of their own–deliberately impede our work by refusing to cooperate or by sabotaging our efforts, even attacking our persons.

In such cases, it is a real temptation to think that when the Lord says, “You are the salt of the earth and the light of the world,” he is referring only to a select group of disciples, those who are not only spiritually sound but also apostolically successful. We may begin to think that Jesus is not speaking at all to his lesser disciples–those of us who are struggling spiritually or facing difficulties or even failures in our attempts to follow him. If we go down this route, we may just end up giving up and yielding to the temptation to grow bland and dim.

I’d like to think that the Lord’s call to salten the earth and brighten the world is addressed especially to those disciples, those among us who are facing difficulties in following of Jesus. More than anyone else, we mustn’t lose hope and give up. More than anyone else, we must exert every effort to intensify the flavor and luminance of our Christian lives. And we know we have the Lord to turn to, He Who is the Bread of Life and the Light of the World.

Whatever we do then, we mustn’t give up. The last thing we must do is to yield to the temptation of growing bland and dim. Doing that will make only one person happy–and it isn’t God.

So, let’s ask ourselves: Are we going bland and dim?

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7 thoughts on “ARE YOU GOING BLAND OR DIM?”

  1. Being a light of the world and salt of the earth is being able to fulfill one’s purpose. It would be great to be able to do so always in our daily lives. My prayer; may we be salt and light everyday of our lives in our ordinary daily circumstances.

    Thanks Fr. Johnny for reenlisting me to this service.

  2. The second-to-the-last sentence, ”… and it isn’t God,” is truly scary, because it can and does happen, even just by our being complacent. Dear Lord, we need you more than ever!

  3. I take heart in the stories we’ve heard before about the number of times Thomas Edison failed before being able to make his light bulb work. Let us never tire of trying again and again in making our light shine.

  4. In creating salt our Lord shows that by combining
    two unwieldy elements, sodium and chlorine He
    demonstrates that different people can bond together
    To do His work on earth. Sodium w water is highly caustic
    While chlorine w water or HCl is corrosive. Together
    they bring out salt which is vital to life.

  5. Not sure about going bland or dim. But most certainly going dumb. Not knowing the right thing to say and not knowing the right thing to do in a nerve wracking situation. Sometimes, if we are not paying attention, wrong will insinuate itself in a conversation and we get caught off guard. Without prompting, the conversation turns hostile. How can we be the salt and the light if we are dumb! Give me wisdom, Lord.

  6. Lord, grant us the grace of steadfastness, one day at a time….! Just for one more sunrise to the laying down of the weary sun……be with me!

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