10th Week in Ord. Time, Tuesday – 9th June 2020 — Gospel: Mt 5,13-16
Being light “for” the world
Even though the two proverbs, salt and light, primarily refers to the good works, Jesus exhorts here to glorify His name rather than to do good works. Throughout John’s gospel, Jesus is “the light of the world” while Matthew 5,14 refers to Jesus’ followers as “You are the light of the world”. The question is: How can we be the light of the world? John clearly describes Jesus as a light who came into the world to “enlighten every man” (Jn 1,9). Later Jesus said of himself that “I am the light of the world”. On the other hand, we can’t be light of the world, because John explicitly states that John the Baptist “was not that light, but was sent to bear witness to the light” (Jn 1,8). Additionally the purpose of his testimony was that “all might believe” in this light (Jn 1,7). Therefore we are not light “of” the world, but rather light “for” the world, i.e., to make others believe in Jesus Christ. However, Jesus gives assurance to his followers that they “shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of life” (8,12). The disciples of Jesus have light in themselves because Christ is in them, who is the “light” of the world. As followers we are only signposts pointing to a greater reality. We may serve as light “for” the world but the conduit of glory for such light is not ourselves or our achievements, but the “glory of the Father” (Mt 5,16). When we don’t illumine the world with our light that is inherited from Christ, then the world turns into darkness. For this is the judgement, that “people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil” (Jn 3,19).