Following on his underlying teaching of the beatitudes from last week, Jesus says to the crowd and to us this week: You are salt and light meant to glorify God by being of service to others.
Salt and light are two sacramentals in our Catholic tradition. We are more familiar with the ritual and devotional uses of candles, such as in the giving of baptismal candles, processions for the Presentation of the Lord and the blessing of candles, or lighting votive candles for prayer. Less familiar is the use of salt, even though the rite for blessing salt is still part of the current Roman Missal (see Appendix II, 3).If we are salt and light, we too must give of ourselves for the sake of others if we desire to truly glorify God. Click To Tweet
Salt preserves, gives flavor, and purifies. The prayer for blessing salt includes a reference to Elisha using salt to miraculously restore Jericho’s contaminated spring (see 2 Kings 2:20–21). As an optional part of the rite of blessing and sprinkling of water, the presider mixes blessed salt into the water used for sprinkling, reminding us of how we, too, have been purified from sin and death in baptism.
Only by expending themselves do salt and candles fulfill their purpose. Salt is dissolved, eaten, and absorbed; candles are melted in their lighting. If we are salt and light, we too must give of ourselves for the sake of others if we desire to truly glorify God.
This post was first published in “GIA Quarterly: A Liturgical Music Journal.”
Image credit: Quangpraha from pixabay.
Read more reflections on the Sunday readings here:
- Going Further
- Can we be salt and light?
- Who is advocating for those in need?
- Bonded to Christ’s Mission
- Deepening the unity