Tuesday, June 9 ~ Tenth Week in Ordinary Time
Saint Ephrem, Deacon and Doctor of the Church
Holy Gospel: Matthew 5:13-16 Jesus said to his disciples: “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”
Meditation: On many occasions Jesus used ordinary images, such as salt and light, to convey extraordinary truths. What does salt and light have to teach us about God and his reign on earth? Salt was a valuable commodity in the ancient world. People traded with it, like we trade with gold and stock. Salt also served a very useful purpose in hot climates before the invention of electricity and refrigeration. Salt not only gave food flavor, it also preserved meat from spoiling. Jesus used the image of salt to describe how his disciples are to live in the world. As salt purifies, preserves, and penetrates, so the disciple must be as salt in the world of human society to purify, preserve, and penetrate that society for the kingdom of God and of his righteousness and peace. Jesus also used the image of light and a lamp to further his illustration. Lamps in the ancient world served a vital function, much like they do today. They enable people to see and work in the dark and to avoid stumbling. The Jewish people also understood “light” as an expression of the inner beauty, truth, and goodness of God. “In his light we see light” ( Psalm 36:9). “His word is a lamp that guides our steps” (Psalm 119:105). God’s grace not only illumines the darkness in our lives, but it also fills us with spiritual light, joy, and peace. Jesus used the image of a lamp to describe how his disciples are to live in the light of his truth and love. Just as natural light illumines the darkness and enables one to see visually, so the light of Christ shines in the hearts of believers and enables us to see the heavenly reality of God’s kingdom. In fact, our mission is to be light-bearers of Christ so that others may see the truth of the gospel and be freed from the blindness of sin and deception.
Prayer: Pour into our hearts O Lord, we pray, the Holy Spirit, at whose prompting the Deacon Saint Ephrem exulted in singing of your mysteries and from whom he received the strength to serve you alone. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Contemplation: Despite the steps we take to engage in activities out of the public eye in our attempt to keep things “secret,” Jesus reminds us that nothing really ever remains hidden or secret. We can try to hide things from others, from ourselves, and foolishly from God – God who sees all and knows all. How tempting to shut our eyes from the consequences of our sinful ways and bad habits, even when we know what those consequences are. And how tempting to hide them from others and even from God. But, nonetheless, everything is known to God who sees all. There is great freedom and joy for those who live in God’s light and who seek this truth. Those who listen to God and heed his voice will receive more from him. Do you know the joy and freedom of living in God’s light?