February 9, 2020

FEBRUARY 9, 2020
FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME

“You are the light of the world.”

“All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.” St. Francis of Assisi

Salt and Light – two simple yet rich and powerful images that Jesus uses to describe the characteristics of a disciple. In today’s Gospel, Jesus does more than just call us to be the salt and the light to others. He tells us, “You ARE the salt of the earth.” “You ARE the light of the world.” These characteristics are already inherent in us. And then He tells us to use our salt and our light.
Why salt? In Jesus’ time, just as now, salt was used for flavoring, as a preservative and as a healing agent. Salt is most effective when it draws attention to something other than itself, when it makes things better. For example, when used in seasoning food, salt works best when it enhances the flavor of the meal and is not even noticed by the one eating.
This past Fall I visited the Holy Land where I had the opportunity to “float” in the Dead Sea. And you really do float. The Sea is so rich in salt that you feel as if you are being lifted up. And afterwards my skin felt so smooth and rejuvenated. (I should have brought more home with me.)
So, when Jesus tells us we “are the salt of the earth” He means we are meant to season and lift up the lives of others by showing them the flavor of God’s love in the world.
As salt provides flavor, light guides and brings comfort. The image of being “the light of the world” cannot be missed. We all know people who have truly been lights in our lives. They comfort and guide us through the darkness.
One of my favorite quotes from St. Francis of Assisi is “All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle.” We are that candle. And we are called to shine our light in the darkness. Sadly, there is darkness in our world. Our first reading from Isaiah discusses the areas of darkness where we can be light: the hungry, homeless and afflicted. Jesus expands on that in his Sermon on the Mount: comfort those who mourn, be merciful and so on.
It is in that darkness that the light from the smallest candle can be seen. No matter how small the candle, no matter how insignificant we think our positive action, it will have an effect. Even the tiny flame from the match used to light the candle brings illumination to the darkness.
And “your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” Just as with the salt, our light is meant not to bring attention to ourselves but to guide others to the comfort and light of God’s love in the world.
This past November, St. Philip’s hosted our Women’s Cornerstone Retreat whose theme was Go Light Your World. As our theme title implies, women shared how they are God’s light in the world and how through others, God’s light has shined on them.
As you reflect on the lyrics to our theme song, ask yourself:
• Who has been a light to me in a time of darkness? How can I thank them?
• What small act of kindness can I do to bring “salt” or enhance someone’s life?
• Where do I see areas of darkness around me where I can bring my small candle of light?
Remember, Jesus tells us, “You ARE the light.” Shine!!!

GO LIGHT YOUR WORLD by Christopher Rice

There is a candle in every soul
Some brightly burning, some dark and cold
There is a spirit who brings a fire
Ignites a candle and makes His home

So carry your candle, run to the darkness
Seek out the hopeless, confused and torn
Hold out your candle for all to see it
Take your candle and go light your world
Take your candle and go light your world

Frustrated brother, see how he’s tried to
Light his own candle some other way
See now your sister, she’s been robbed and lied to
Still holds a candle without a flame

So carry your candle, run to the darkness
Seek out the lonely, the tired and worn
Hold out your candle for all to see it
Take your candle and go light your world
Take your candle and go light your world

‘Cause we are a family whose hearts are blazing
So let’s raise our candles and light up the sky
Praying to our Father in the name of Jesus
Make us a beacon in darkest times

So carry your candle, run to the darkness
Seek out the helpless, deceived and poor
Hold out your candle for all to see it
Take your candle and go light your world
Carry your candle, run to the darkness
Seek out the hopeless, confused and torn
Hold out your candle for all to see it
Take your candle and go light your world
Take your candle and go light your world
Donna Scancarella

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