Be Salt! Be Light!

Jesus said to his disciples,
“You are the salt of the earth…
You are the light of the world.”

From Matthew 5:13-16

I admit that I’ve developed some interest in the obituary section of our daily newspaper. This began some months ago when I inadvertently came across the obituary of a classmate and friend with whom I’d lost contact after we both married. Ed (I called him Eddie.) was a great guy, a talented musician and a truly supportive friend. He’s one of the special people who have influenced my life for the better. I’m most grateful for both these long-term and minute-long encounter. Each one has opened my eyes to one aspect or another of myself, this life, this world and God. As I used to tell my students and my own sons, you may never know whom you are helping or who is helping you along the way. Still, even the briefest of these encounters can be life-changing for those involved.

Over the years, I’ve discovered that, whatever our named occupation or standing or relationship to others is, we are all called to be our best and to bring our best to whatever our situation may be. Whether our influence is world-wide or confined to a single room, that influence will change everything for those within this realm.

You know, Jesus didn’t target the temple hierarchy, government officials, local celebrities or the wealthy when he proclaimed that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. God holds each of us in such esteem that he calls us all to be the salt and the light that only we can be.

Dear God, thank you for trusting us to make this world a better place. Help us to use this power with wisdom and love.

©2019 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Be Salt… Be Light…

“You are the salt of the earth…
You are the light of the world.”

From Matthew 5:13-16

A compilation of the people who have influenced my life for the better would hold its own against Santa’s list. I am most grateful for the long-term and minute-long encounters which have opened my eyes to one aspect or another of myself, this life, this world and God. You know, we never really know whom we’re helping along the way. The briefest encounter can be life-changing for those involved.

Over the years, I’ve discovered that, whatever our named occupation or standing or relationship to others is, we are all called to be our best and to bring our best to whatever the situation may be. Whether our influence is world-wide or confined to a single room, that influence will change everything for those within this realm.

You know, Jesus didn’t target the temple hierarchy, government officials, local celebrities or the wealthy when he proclaimed that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. God holds each of us in such esteem that he calls us all to be the salt and the light that only we can be.

Creator God, thank you for trusting us to make this world a better place. Help us to use this power with wisdom and love.

©2018 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Salt and Light

Jesus said to his disciples,
“You are the salt of the earth…
You are the light of the world.”

From Matthew 5:13-16

A compilation of the people who have influenced my life for the better would hold its own against Santa’s list. I am most grateful for the long-term and minute-long encounters which have opened my eyes to one aspect or another of myself, this life, this world and God. As I used to tell my students and my own sons, you never know whom you are helping along the way. The briefest encounter can be life-changing for those involved.

Over the years, I’ve discovered that, whatever our named occupation or standing or relationship to others is, we are all called to be our best and to bring our best to whatever our situation may be. Whether our influence is world-wide or confined to a single room, that influence will change everything for those within this realm.

You know, Jesus didn’t target the temple hierarchy, government officials, local celebrities or the wealthy when he proclaimed that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. God holds each of us in such esteem that he calls us all to be the salt and the light that only we can be.

Creator God, thank you for trusting us to make this world a better place. Help us to use this power with wisdom and love.

©2016 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

Salt or Light?

My dear husband enjoys cooking. He took over the shopping and cooking when he retired a few years before I did. When I joined him in his leisure, Mike continued to shop for groceries without benefit of my company. I have the distinct impression that he enjoys this arrangement because it allows him control over our daily menus. I refrain from complaining because Mike is a very good cook. I also admit that if it was up to me, we would rotate through the same seven rather bland meals on a weekly basis.

In an effort to appear to be helpful, I run to the store when Mike needs a few forgotten items. I wash the fruit and vegetables. I make our salads, set the table and stir a pot here and there. I occasionally pre-heat the oven and set the kitchen timer. I even place the salt and pepper shakers on the table though they would remain on their shelf if left up to me. You see, part of my husband’s cooking expertise includes seasoning our food at precise levels. While I prefer to enjoy the “natural” flavors of the things we eat, Mike prefers to enhance those natural flavors with salt. Whether he is preparing a casserole, boiling a pot of soup, scrambling an egg or broiling a steak, he sprinkles a measure of salt in the process. In an effort to cooperate, I endure the salt in those pots of soup and those other one dish meals. In an effort to compromise, Mike holds the salt on my portions of items cooked separately. In the end, we enjoy our meals together.

A few days ago, I came home to find Mike cooking in a dark kitchen. “Can I turn on the light for you?” I asked. “No. It bothers my eyes,” he answered. For some years now, a “bubble” in Mike’s retina has caused him to see wiggly lines streaming across his field of vision. Bright light enhances the lines, so he prefers dusk-like lighting. I, on the other hand, enjoy bright light. As soon as I get up in the morning, I open every shade in the house. When clouds block the sunlight or the sun begins to set, I turn on the lights. Even when visiting at various family members’ homes, I catch myself asking, “Do you mind if I turn on the lights?” In an effort to cooperate, I deal with the dim lighting until I join Mike in the kitchen to help. In an effort to compromise, Mike deals with the bright light to save my fingers from any culinary mishaps.

I share Mike’s and my salt and light preferences because Jesus used these amazing gifts to enhance his teaching. A passage from Matthew’s gospel (5:13-15) picks up just after Jesus preached the beatitudes. When Jesus spoke to the crowds, he offered these promises, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven; blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted; blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth…” Jesus listed eight conditions -which the world would view as suffering- and promised the best of God’s blessings in response to each one.

After offering these guarantees for happiness to the crowds, Jesus turned to his disciples to say, “You are the salt of the earth,” and “You are the light of the world.” Because they knew best the blessings offered to all of God’s children, Jesus challenged his closest disciples. They were to be the salt which would enrich those around them and the light which would guide those who did not yet know the road back home to God. Jesus left no uncertainty regarding how this would be accomplished when he said, “…your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” Jesus knew that when they experienced the salt and light which the disciples offered, the people would take God’s message of peace and reconciliation, mercy and love to heart.

Had I been among the disciples that day, I might have wrung my hands and fretted over how I could possibly be that salt and light which the suffering masses needed so desperately. How might I, with my imperfections and frailties, reveal God’s loving ways when I was no better than the rest of humankind? In the end, I would have needed only to look into Jesus’ eyes. For there would be reflected the light of which I am so fond and the salt which my husband sprinkles so freely. In those eyes, I would have seen Jesus’ absolute faith in my ability to use my gifts.

Every day, Jesus sends out each of us with the same confidence. Whether we prefer to be salt or light, Jesus sends us out to transform this world one loving deed at a time.

©2014 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved

We Are All Called

Jesus said to his disciples,
“You are the salt of the earth…
You are the light of the world.”

From Matthew 5:13-16

I clearly remember praying that day with my eyes wide open and a scowl on my face. At age sixteen, I had decided that it was not at all fair that I had a vocation. At the time, we continually prayed for vocations to the priesthood and religious life, and I was convinced that God intended for me to join the convent. Still, I told the Lord God that I simply wanted to be a normal girl, with a normal life who might just get married one day. I said this in spite of the fact that I thought that our parish sisters and priests and my aunts who were nuns were perfectly normal.

Over the years since, I have found myself to be quite grateful for having been called at all. Jesus wasn’t targeting the temple hierarchy, government officials, local celebrities or the wealthy when he proclaimed that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. God holds each of us in such esteem that he calls us all, regardless of our status, to be the salt and the light that only we can be.

Creative God, thank You for giving each of us the power to make ourselves and one another better people. Thank you for trusting us to make this world a better place. Help us to use this power with wisdom and love.

©2014 Mary Penich – All Rights Reserved