In today’s Gospel Our Lord teaches us that Christian life is like salt and light. Flavorless Christianity is like putting sand on your french fries: something is different about the taste, but it’s not something good. Some people have already written off Christianity as sand on the fries, as something that robs life of its flavor, but those people have either never experienced it or have only met the flavorless variety of Christian that Jesus is warning against today. Christianity, like salt, is not meant to be just any flavor; salt is a staple in many recipes, in many cultures, and it is not easily replaced. Neither pepper nor chili powder, for example, would have the same effect. Christianity is meant to make a unique contribution to society and culture, even for those who do not believe in Christ. For believers, like that salt shaker on the dinner table, it is indispensable and we can accept no substitutes.
Salt subtly contributes to many recipes and is only appreciated at times when its absence is noted. It’s meant to blend in and contribute, but we have to make sure it receives the credit it is due, which is why Our Lord also reminds us in today’s Gospel that Christianity is meant to be a light on a high place or a lamp stand: it is meant to shed light on many things, even things not directly considered Christian, because ultimately the Gospel is a message of truth and goodness that contributes to every level and sector of society, directly or indirectly. There are ethical and philosophical truths that any reasonable person can consider, even if they don’t believe any or some of the tenets of Christian faith, and those ethical and philosophical truths can open the door to their conversion.
Let’s pray today for the flavorless Christians to put some “spice” back into their Christian life, and also for all those Christians trying to be the light of world while being treated like sand in the fries.
Readings: 2 Corinthians 1:18–22; Psalm 119:129–133, 135; Matthew 5:13–16.