Sunday, February 6, 2011

Better to light a candle than to curse the darkness

Saints are the lights of the world, but the light which shines in them is borrowed

Gospel text (Mt 5:13-16): Jesus said to his disciples: «You are the salt of the earth. But if salt has lost its strength, how can it be made salty again? It has become useless. It can only be thrown away and people will trample on it. You are the light of the world. A city built on a mountain cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and covers it; instead it is put on a lamp stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way your light must shine before others, so that they may see the good you do and praise your Father in heaven».

Today, the Gospel clearly urges us to become witness to Christ. And it invites us in two different ways, which, apparently, may look contradictory: the salt and the light.

The salt cannot be seen but can be perceived; it can be tasted, relished. There are many persons that “can hardly be perceived”, as they are like “little ants” working and doing good all the time. At their side one can savor peace, serenity and joy. As it is said at present, their “radiations” are good.

Light, instead, cannot be hidden. There are persons that “can be seen from afar”: Mother Therese of Calcutta, the Pope, a parish's rector. They hold important positions because of their natural leadership or because of their concrete priesthood. They are “brought into the limelight”. As today's Gospel says «on top of a mountain» or on a «lamp stand» (cf. Mt 5:14-15).

We are all called to be salt and light. For over 30 years of his hidden life in Nazareth, Jesus himself was also “salt”. It is being said that, once, while he was playing, someone asked St. Aloysius Gonzaga what would he do if he knew that within a few minutes he would die. «I would keep on playing», he answered. He would go on carrying out his normal every- day's life, and making life pleasant for his play pals.

It may be we are called to be light. We are quite clearly so when we avow our own faith in difficult moments. Martyrs are great luminaries. And in certain environments, today, the mere fact of attending Mass may be the subject of jokes and general mockery. Going to Mass is already to be “light”. And light is always detected and seen, no matter how small it may be. A little light may change the night.

Let us pray to the Lord for one another that we always know how to be salt. And how to be light, if need be. That our daily chores are carried out in such a way that through our good deeds people may praise our Father who is in Heaven (cf. Mt 5:12).

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