(Matthew 5:13-16) If there is someone who knows better than anyone else that life is not a private affair, it’s Pope Francis. His ‘private audience’ with 500 Italian teenagers became a news phenomenon when the first ‘selfie’ of the Pope and his young fans went viral on the internet. From what he eats for breakfast to what car he drives, people watch his every move; they hang on his every word.
In a certain sense, we are all in the same boat. Although we may not be in the public eye, people around us are always watching. Our children see (and follow!) the example that we set, and they aren’t the only ones. It doesn’t take our friends and acquaintances long before they figure out whether we are authentic Christians … or whether we’re not. Actions speak louder than words. Cardinal Schönborn writes, “People look exactly at what there is to see of [us], because being a Christian is not a private matter.”1
Christians are the “salt of the earth” and the “light of the world.” We are the hands and feet of Christ, called to be a good example to others and to witness to the love of Christ wherever we go. “Just as salt functions as a preservative, preventing decay and making food tasty, so Jesus’ followers are to keep society wholesome, oppose corruption and penetrate society for good. They are to ensure that life possesses zest and flavour.”2
All too often, people are scandalized by “low sodium” Christians – disciples whose lives could be better summed up with the words, “Do as I say, not as I do.” Although we may look like everyone else, speak the same language, and dress the same way, there should be something that sets us apart, something that reveals the love of Christ for the whole world to see. May we always be that salt – that light – which attracts others to the Lord and makes the world a better place to be.
– Sharon van der Sloot
“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.“ – Matthew 5:16
1 Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, My Jesus: Encountering Christ in the Gospel, trans. Robert J. Shea (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2005), 62.
2 Archbishop Terrence Prendergast, SJ, Living God’s Word (Toronto, ON: Novalis Publishing Inc., 2010), 49.