Shining Example

Fifth Sunday of Ordinary Time

We often hear folk proclaim that their faith is a very private affair, something strictly between themselves and God. Of course there’s a place for private worship, but at the end of the day, what good is a religious conviction that rarely impacts others and fails to make the world a better place?

Today Jesus tells us that if we live by our faith we will become ‘the salt of the earth’ and the ‘light of the world’. How wonderful to be worthy of such compliments, but lest we get carried away, Jesus warns of us of the pitfalls. If the salt is to lose its taste it will become worthless, and if we are to hide the light beneath a bowl it will obviously fail to serve its purpose. What a silly idea! Why on earth would we go round hiding lights underneath bowls …. yet we do it all the time.

We deny the salt and hide the light every time we keep our faith to ourselves. It isn’t fashionable to be a Christian nowadays and hiding God’s light gives us a get out clause. Hiding the light means we can choose the comfortable or the easy option. Hiding the light means ignoring someone who is alone, or suffering. Hiding the light means keeping quiet and erring on the side of popular opinion. Hiding the light means keeping quiet in the face of injustice or intolerance.

Today we are invited to remember all those who Jesus might have described as the ‘salt of the earth’. We all remember someone who has motivated and inspired us. We all remember someone who has stood out against the crowd. Today we ask, “Are we guilty of practising our faith quietly and only when it’s safe, or are we shining examples.”


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