Does anyone remember this quote from President George H.W. Bush:
“For we are a nation of communities, of thousands and tens of thousands of ethnic, religious, social, business, labor union, neighborhood, regional and other organizations, all of them varied, voluntary and unique. This is America … a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky.” — Aug. 18, 1988
I often think of these words whenever I hear the Gospel about having to be the light of the world; about having to put my light upon a lampstand so that it will shine to all who come near; about having to let others see my good deeds so that they will glorify the heavenly Father. Oh my, such a burden you and I bear.
The word “light” is found in the bible 146 times in the Old Testament, and 58 in the New Testament. Not all references are as profound as that of today’s Gospel, but they were important references. We are also salt; “salt of the earth” you’ve heard many times. Salt was a precious commodity in ancient times. Often, wages were paid in salt rather than money. It was needed that much.
These statements of Jesus are integral to our lives as Christians. These statements pretty much sum up who we are and how we are to live our lives as Christians. I would believe that if we take to heart that we as “salt” can transform another the same as the way salt will transform the taste of food, much would be accomplished. I would also believe that if we take to heart that we are “light”, and live as a light to the world, we will transform others who come to see our light and come to know the Lord.
This is a lot to live up to. We can very easily fall into the trap of not wanting the light because of all it will reveal about us. The same as sunlight through a window shows us all the dust in our homes, so does the light of the Lord shining on us show us the “dust” of sin in our hearts. We often don’t want to see, but we must. You can close off your heart all you want, but the Lord is determined to transform you so that you can transform others, and that light will find the smallest crack in your defenses and will begin to permeate your life. And onward it goes.
I’d like to look, once again, at President Bush’s quote and change it a bit.
“For we are a Church, of thousands and tens of thousands of ethnicities, of men and women, of neighborhoods, social, business, regional and other, all of them varied, and unique. This is our Church — a brilliant diversity spread like stars, like a thousand points of light in a broad and peaceful sky. And hopefully, someday, a broad and peaceful world for the Lord.”
Go forth and be salt. Go forth and be light!
Jeanne Penoyar, an Accounts Manager at Diocesan, is a Lector at St. Anthony of Padua parish in Grand Rapids, MI. Jeanne has worked in parish ministry as an RCIA director, in Liturgy, and as a Cantor. Working word puzzles and reading fill her spare time. Jeanne can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.