Today I’d like to ask you a probing question. Be honest with yourself. Have you ever felt jealous or envious of another person’s success, talents, or good works? I think we’ve all felt that twinge of jealousy. It’s a jealousy that is seeded in personal insecurity – an insecurity that tempts us into thinking that our light and goodness might diminish if someone else’s shines. Moreover, it’s a jealousy that misplaces why we shine in the first place.  

Take heart friends! Today’s Gospel passage offers us a remedy for jealousy. Jesus gives a recipe for how to be exactly who God created you to be, how to go out and do good and holy works confidently, and how to celebrate when others do the same. 

First, be salt. In Jesus’ day salt was valuable and essential. So, too, are you and each person God has created! Though not as pricey today as it once was, we still value salt because it enhances flavor in our food. When we behave as “salt of the earth,” we enhance the goodness that is around us. In biblical times and today, we also recognize that salt prevents decay and preserves food. As salt of the earth, we invigorate our communities, preventing stagnation. 

Second, be light. In Matthew 5:16, we read, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” When we share our light, we’re sharing the light of Christ that dwells within us. Notice that “sharing light,” is not for our personal benefit. We don’t “share light” to seek favor, earn a promotion, or for profit. We let our light shine for others to see so that they may “give glory” to God! (see Mt 5:16) 

When light is added to light, it always gets brighter. Verse 16 shows us that we are created to live in communion with God and with one another. When you light one candle and then a second, there is always more light in the room, not less. Neither candle becomes less luminous with the addition of more candles. In fact, what eventually happens is that a unified glow overcomes a dark space. This is an image of the Church. When we share the light of Christ, our good works spread the same way, eliminating what is not of God. 

When you see someone doing something light-sharing in your community today, snuff out any jealousy or insecurity that you may feel by helping them to lift their light. Make the Christian witness visible and public. In this way, you’re sharing your light, too, and pointing the community to Jesus. 

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