This passage very interestingly begins with a reference to salt,
“You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste with what
can it be seasoned?” The passage quickly moves on to the notion of light,
“You are the light of the world.” Rather confusing, unless we appreciate
the use of salt. The words “taste” and “seasoned” get us off track,
leading to food. As there was little or no wood available for fire,
animal dung was used as fuel and salt the catalyst for igniting the dung.
So if the salt was not doing its job, what could be done to refresh it, to
The passage ends with the very familiar encouragement: “Just so, your light
must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your
A few years ago, I had the privilege of being a guest in the primitive village
of Kole on the island of Santo part of the nation of Vanuatu in the South
Pacific. Natural light was the only source of light. On cloud
covered nights when there was absolutely no sky light, I literally could not
see my hand in front of my face. On clear, but moonless nights, the
stars were of unspeakable brilliance, countless in number, stretching from
horizon to horizon. A spectacle of art and drama with shooting stars crisscrossing
the sky. An iridescent sheen softly reflected off objects below, giving light,
but rarely color. When there was a full, white, mottled, dominating
moon heavenly bodies receded while earthly objects were captured in a colorful
brightness strong enough to cast distinct shadows. Bright enough to
Recently, perched on a boulder at the ocean’s edge, I waited for the sun
to come up. From the darkness white light slowly crept over the horizon’s
edge gradually becoming rainbow colored. The pace quickened until the
blazing orange sun popped out of the dark blue ocean waters highlighting the
ripples with streaks of white light. The ocean took on definition, degrees
of blue-green water dotted with white-capped waves.
In the May 2004 edition of Smithsonian magazine, (pg 29) there is a photograph
and very short description of a phenomenon taking place in Bath, England.
“A “field” of 1,300 unwired fluorescent tubes were “planted” under electric
power lines. Energy from the lines lit up the (unwired) tubes, whose
radiance increased as visitors approached. ‘You affect the light by your proximity,
because you are a much better conductor than a glass tube.’”
The exciting goodnews of this gospel passage is that I am invited and challenged
to risk being my best self, in order that you might be your best self.
My light, my gifts, my graces and talents are given out of Love for me to
use and enjoy – and to be a catalyst to ignite, encourage and allow the light,
gifts and talents of others. Whether I am one of the multitude of brilliant
stars, a powerful moon-like presence, a blazing sun or a “planted fluorescent
tube” the light I reflect is the light of the love of the Mystery that is
God. As I am present to you and you to me, we increase each other’s
holy and blessed radiance. We “season” each other as we continue to
be “seasoned” by God. We participate with God in the glory and celebration
of our individual gifts and those of each other.
I think it is true in spirit, what I observed in nature. Different degrees
of light allow other objects to come more or less into focus; to have shape,
color, to take on their own life and vitality. And so it is with me.
The more light and love I reflect on you - my child, my spouse, my partner,
my parishioner, my neighbor, my friend or my enemy - the more light
and love you generate.
Oh, the pure Mystery, Love, untold Imagination is our God!