Light, Salt, Witness

Fr. Charlie O’Rourke
March 25, 2011

There is so much darkness in our world: violence, hatred, anger and negativity, just as there was in Jesus’ day.

E-Journey through Lent

Purple, or violet, is the color associated with Lent. Originally purple involved using the most expensive dyes, and was only seen with people of wealth and power and especially with royalty. Purple is also the color of mourning and anticipates the suffering of the crucifixion.

Read the prayer | More Prayers | More Reflections

As the salt and light in our world we are to help, encourage and be positive. Salt, in the old days, meant a permanent faith in an oath two people might have. It was a way to remind ourselves and others that we are to stick to our oath and reflect it in our words and actions.

There is a story of two boys being told that if they were not good they were going to go to hell. One boy, upon hearing this said, “If I go to hell then I would be with grandpa.” They had witnessed grandpa’s not-so-good side through his words and actions.

We are witnesses to the light, which came to us in the life and death of Jesus Christ, and we are to see the good in others and be positive in our attitude.  This is a basic Christian concept.

The greatest gift parents can give their children is love. Jesus openly showed His love, even in the days preceding a violent death. Only when a parent shows love can they share it. Children catch love like the flu – by being exposed to it.

We are to bring the sunshine of Jesus to others by our example: compassionate words and selfless love.

Ephesians Chapter 5, Verse 8: For you were sometimes darkness, but now are you light in the Lord: Walk as children of light.

And we ask, “What can one person do?”

Live a prayerful life. When we say the Morning Offering we offer ourselves to God; we make a pledge that we will be a witness in our service to God during the day in union with the Sacred Heart of Jesus. This is just not a prayer but a way of life expressed by us. The pledge is for us to live as a witness to Christ.

Teaching prayers to your children at an early age is so important. I cannot stress it enough. This helps to form a habit of prayer for a young person. It helps to develop an attitude of reverence and respect and love for God that will be ingrained in their heart forever.

When looking around your parish, you have many who are doing exactly this in their ministries and in their private lives.

Think of all the ministries that exist in every parish—ministries  to men, women and young people, ministries led by parish deacons ,various prayer groups, ministry to the sick and shut-ins, ministry to prisoners. These are some examples, but there are many other types of ministries that are truly the light and the salt of every parish. These ministries echo what Jesus did in His day. He counseled the prisoners on the crosses next to Him, He healed the sick, He prayed, He encouraged others to be a help to neighbors.

E-Journey through Lent

Purple, or violet, is the color associated with Lent. Originally purple involved using the most expensive dyes, and was only seen with people of wealth and power and especially with royalty. Purple is also the color of mourning and anticipates the suffering of the crucifixion.

Read the prayer | More Prayers | More Reflections

There is a danger that we take all these ministries for granted, regarding them in a human way rather than spiritual. The people of Nazareth apparently were given to seeing Jesus in this light. “Who is this but the Son of Mary and Joseph?”

You are truly blessed to have these good people in the parish helping others to enjoy the life of Christ. If you can participate in such ministries, wonderful; if not, try to live as the light and the salt by having the awareness of what you are doing as a source of inspiration and a role model for others to emulate.

Remember that God can only work through you. God has chosen you to be that light, just as He chose Jesus to be His Son. Keep it shining brightly by your faithfulness and love for God and others.