Tuesday 12 June 2012

Being Salty and Bright

By Artur Suski, S.J.

“You are the salt of the Earth…you are the light of the world.” (Matt 5:13–14)

Before his Ascension, the Lord Jesus gave his disciples a difficult task: go to all nations and make of them his disciples. This is undoubtedly a daunting task, but the disciples did not give in to their fears. They received the power of the Holy Spirit and went forth into the unknown, preaching Christ crucified to all who would hear them. Their holy lives were lights in a dark world; their words added flavour to an insipid Hellenistic culture. They brought people to the faith through their lives and their preaching.

Jesus’ commission equally applies to us today, as we find ourselves in a post-Christian society. Many have encountered Christianity, and have found it unappealing and stale. But how have they encountered Christianity? Perhaps in Catholic schools; through their Christian friends; in the media, etc. Often times the Christianity that they have come into contact with is an incomplete and distorted one. They have often found Christians who are unfaithful to their faith; what they see is not appealing to them.

Christians! Do you not see that the way you live has tremendous influence on your neighbours? You have the power to either inspire, edify, or to scandalize and cause confusions. Your Christian lives – faithfully lived out –  have the power to move mountains! You are not just Sunday Christians, ones that go to Church on Sunday to fulfil one's Christian obligation for the week. Through your baptism, you have committed your lives to Christ, and every aspects of your lives should be permeated by Christ. Be Christ to others; see Christ in others; serve Christ in others; praise, reverence, and serve the Father as Christ did.

Much has been demanded of us Christians, and may we not cower away from the task. Surely, it is difficult to live out our Christian values – at work or at school – especially when others live as if there is no God; but it is precisely to these situations that we are called. We are to be the light in darkness. We are to be the salt where everything has gone bland. It should be unsurprising that persecutions will come along with our efforts, as Christ himself has said to us (Jn 15:19–20). Be courageous in such situations! Pray for the strength and power from the Holy Spirit to do what is just and good rather than what everyone else does. We will be hated for your actions; some will find us weird and call us “fanatics”. But people today are much more moved by good and upright lives than verbal arguments; we can preach Christ all we like, but if we ourselves do not live as Christ has called us to live, our words will have no meaning.

The Lord calls us to be authentic. If we are Christians, we should live as Christians. Let us fervently and zealously embrace this faith which gives us so much joy. Such a life most definitely flows from a deep and loving relationship with God. Let us cultivate this relationship. A joyful and consistent prayer life is of utmost importance here; the Sacraments – especially the sacraments of Reconciliation and Holy Communion – are tremendous sources of graces and consolations. May we truly bring Christ to the world, as he himself has asked of us to do. I end with the loudly proclaimed words of Pope John Paul II on October 22nd, 1978 in St. Peter’s Square: “Do not be afraid! Open wide the doors to Christ! Open to his saving power the confines of states, political and economic systems, as well as the vast fields of culture, civilization, and development. Do not be afraid! Christ knows what is in a person’s heart. Only He knows!”

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