Father Michael Barrow

From the parish of St Francis of Assisi

Salt And Light: A Gospel Reflection by Fr. Michael Barrow, S.J.

Salt And Light: A Gospel Reflection by Fr. Michael Barrow, S.J.
Fr. Michael Barrow, S.J. St. Francis of Assisi Church

Jesus used two brilliant images to describe us. "You are the salt of the earth" he said and, "You are the light of the world". Usually if we say of someone that he is the salt of the earth we mean that he is a wonderfully good person. But Jesus was not referring simply to extraordinary Christians. If you are a disciple of Jesus, you are supposed to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.

The interesting similarity between salt and light is that both of them exist for other things or other people, not for themselves. Salt is used to bring out the taste of something else – it is not eaten for its own sake.You can use it to improve the taste of chicken but you don't make a meal of salt - you only notice the salt if you put in too much or not enough. The same thing is true of light: you don't switch on a light to look at it. You put the light on to see something else and you only notice it, if it is too bright or not light enough for what you want to see. Salt is not tasted, it brings out the taste in food. Light is not seen, it enables us to see other things.

Jesus goes on to make it clear what he wants us 'the light of the world' to reveal, namely God. "Your light must shine before people so that seeing your good works they may give praise to your Father in heaven." (Matt 5.15) The same with salt: as the psalm says "Taste and see that the Lord is good" (34.8)

People who lead good Christian lives reveal God to those who might otherwise never have known him.

Turning Persecution into Blessings: A Reflection b...
“You are the light of the world,” (Matt. 5. 14): ...