“Having courage to be the ‘salt of the earth and light of the world!’”
(Based on 2 Cor 1:18-22 and Mt 5:13-16 – Tuesday of the 10th Week in Ordinary Time)
Here is a lovely story of a humble little monk named Telemachus living out in the farming regions of Asia.
Telemachus had no great ambitions in life.
He loved his little garden, and tilled it through the changing seasons.
But one day in the year 391, he felt a sense of urgency, a call of God’s direction in his life – to Rome.
Rome was the heart and soul of the mighty empire.
The feelings of such a call frightened him, but he went anyway, praying along the way for God’s direction.
When he finally got to the city it was in an uproar! The armies of Rome had just come home from the battlefield in victory, and the crowds were turning out for a great celebration.
They flowed through the streets like a tidal wave…
… and Telemachus was caught in their frenzy and carried into the Colloseum.
He had never seen a gladiator contest before, but now his heart sickened.
Down in the arena men hacked at each other with swords and clubs.
The crowds roared at the sight of blood, and urged their favourites on to death.
Telemachus couldn’t stand it.
He knew this wasn’t the way God wanted people to live or to die.
So little Telemachus worked his way through the crowds to the wall down by the arena. “In the name of Christ, forbear!” he shouted.
Nobody heard him, so he crawled up onto the wall and shouted again: “In the name of Christ, forbear!”
This time the few who heard him only laughed. But Telemachus was not to be ignored.
He jumped into the arena, and ran through the sands toward the gladiators. “In the name of Christ, forbear!”
The crowds laughed at the silly little man, and threw stones at him.
Telemachus, however, was on a mission.
He threw himself between two gladiators to stop their fighting. “In the name of Christ, forbear!” he cried.
They hacked him apart!
They cut his body from shoulder to stomach…
… and he fell onto the sand with blood running out of his life.
The gladiators were stunned, and stopped to watch him die.
Then the crowds fell back in silence, and, for a moment, no one in the Colloseum moved.
The site of the dead man, and the reaction of the crowd, led the emperor and his guests to silently stand, turn and leave the Colloseum.
After a few minutes, the Gladiators put their swords down and they too left.
All that remained in that giant stadium was the scrawny lifeless body of the young man.
History claims that this was the very last gladiator game at the coliseum.
The memory of that man screaming to the crowd, and the image of the blood thirsty lust of the crowd had changed the hearts and the minds of the Romans in that instant.
Within an hour, the emperor issued an edict forbidding any future games of war within the Roman Empire.
There was no more killing in the Colloseum.
There were no more gladiator matches in Rome.
All because one man, stood up… and said “In the Name of Jesus, forbear!!”
He, as a true Christian, became, the salt of the earth and light of the world.
This is the call of the Gospel of the Day.
Jesus says, “You are the salt of the earth” (Mt 5: 13)
“You are the light of the world” (Mt 5: 14)
In ancient Greece, salt was considered so valuable it was called, “theon” – divine.
The Romans believed that nothing was of more value than salt except the Sun. Roman soldiers were even paid in salt.
An ancient Near Eastern custom still practiced among some Arabs today is that a pact of friendship is sealed with a gift of salt.
This call of the Gospel has gained significant importance and urgency in our world today.
We live in times and generation when the need to be a “salt” and “light” has gained tremendous urgency…
The world is losing a taste for things of everlasting value and instead relishes more of transient materials.
Can I be a “salt” in such situations giving the taste of eternity and goodness…
… to revive lives and to orient them towards the real joys of life?
The world is fast degrading and losing values in various areas like moral life, social situations, cultural integrity and religious fervour.
Can I be a “light”, casting away the darkness of ignorance…
… and shedding new illumination and radiance for the revival of sanctified lives?
The world today, and even the Church, sometimes, has her members sadly deeply getting corrupted and there are strong strands of infection and contamination affecting various core dimensions.
Can I be a “salt” which rubs in consciousness for transformation and change…
… and be a healing agent to prick the conscience of people to lead an integral life?
The world and even the Church, sometimes, is easy on closing the eye to the evils that are constantly rising, and fails to be a powerful voice for justice and peace
Can I be a “light” which casts its powerful rays on the dark shades of wickedness…
… and expose the inhuman elements of the society, helping towards a harmonious and pleasant world?
“Salt” and “light” are symbols of purity.
To be the “salt” and “light” in the world, demands a high level of perfection and holiness in our lives.
St Paul reminds us that “it is God Who establishes us… in Christ and has anointed us by putting His seal on us and giving us His Spirit in our hearts as a first instalment!” (2 Cor 1:21-22)
Today let us specially seek the intercession of St Marian Therese, the Indian Saint on her feast day…
…. and may we be willing to rise up to the challenge of being the “salt of the earth” and “light to the world”…
… even if it requires giving up many of our comfort areas of life
… so that our Christian values can be preserved and the love of God may shine forth to the world!
In the dangerous “colloseums of our world” when the Gospel Virtues are often ripped apart…
… let us have the courage, with the Mighty Grace of God, to declare: “In the name of Christ, forbear!”
And thus the “salt of the earth and light of the world!”
God bless! Live Jesus!
Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism:
HOW IS THE SON OF GOD, MAN?
Because “human nature was assumed, not absorbed”, in the mysterious union of the Incarnation, the Church was led over the course of centuries to confess the full reality of Christ’s human soul…
… with its operations of intellect and will, and of his human body.
In parallel fashion, she had to recall on each occasion that Christ’s human nature belongs, as his own, to the divine person of the Son of God, who assumed it.
Everything that Christ is and does in this nature derives from “one of the Trinity”.
The Son of God therefore communicates to his humanity his own personal mode of existence in the Trinity. In his soul as in his body, Christ thus expresses humanly the divine ways of the Trinity: “The Son of God… worked with human hands
… He thought with a human mind.
… He acted with a human will
… and with a human heart he loved.
Born of the Virgin Mary, he has truly been made one of us, like to us in all things except sin. (Cf. CCC # 470)