Reflection: Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m.

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

Bible study/sharing every Saturday (2:00-4:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church, 5 Leicester Place WC2H 7BX (near See Woo Chinese Supermarket, Leicester Square tube station)

Talk and discussion meeting First Tuesday of every month (4:00-6:00 p.m.) at Notre Dame De France Church


[1st Reading – Is.58:7-10; Ps.111; 2nd Reading – 1Cor.2:1-5; Gospel – Mt.5:13-16]


Jesus tells his disciples that they are ‘the salt of the earth’ and ‘the light of the world’. He also mentions and compares them to a ‘city built on a hill-top which cannot be hidden’. It is a great honour to be compared to and looked at as ‘salt’, ‘light’ or a ‘city’. There is something really important in today’s gospel in that we don’t only consider ‘salt’ or ‘light’ or a ‘city’ in isolation, but also we consider them one and all altogether. Furthermore Jesus is telling his disciples that they are not simply ‘salt’ and ‘light’, but that they are ‘salt’ and ‘light’ … ‘of the earth’. ‘Salt’, as we know, gives taste to food and ‘light’ gives colour and form to what is visibly seen in its presence. Thus, Jesus is telling his disciples that they are to give ‘taste’ to the world (like salt) and, that they are to ‘enlighten’ the world (like light). This comparison with the salt and the light is not for sake of the salt or for the light in itself… but to represent what one does i.e. their effectiveness in life (like the salt and the light) – and no one can doubt the importance of either salt or light in our everyday life!

In addition Jesus then goes on to tell his disciples that ‘the salt’ should not ‘become tasteless’ or ‘it would only be good to be thrown out and be trampled underfoot by men’. He also says that if a light is lit, it is put in a place ‘where it shines for everyone’. Interestingly Jesus does not say anything about how the disciples can still continue to be effective as ‘salt’ or as ‘light’ of the world and the reason is, as we are told, because Jesus is talking to his disciples. The disciples are people who not only heard Jesus speak, but they also accepted his word in their life and therefore they followed him and became his disciples. By what he is saying, Jesus is urging them to remain united to him. In this way, although still ‘salt’ and ‘light’ of the world, they will be at the disposition of the Father as Jesus had done. He too put himself in the hands of the Father.

Jesus’ actions led to give praise to the Father in heaven. In the same way the actions of Jesus’ disciples will also give praise to the Father in heaven (through being ‘salt’ and ‘light’ of the world) as long as they remain united to Jesus and so what they do, will lead to give praise to the Father.

Although Jesus never directly said to us that we are ‘salt’, ‘light’ or ‘a city built on a hill-top’, by choosing us to be his disciples (and we, in turn, reciprocate this wonderful invitation and agreed to become his disciples) then, as disciples of Jesus, he is still telling us that we are ‘the salt of the earth’, ‘the light of the world’ and ‘a city built on a hill-top’ which cannot be hidden. We are therefore urged not to lose our identity and not to forget who we truly are. If we are ‘the salt of the earth’, then through our actions, the earth must figuratively ‘taste’ better. In the same way, if we are ‘the light of the world’, again through what we do, the world must be figuratively ‘enlightened’ to see the presence of God. If we are ‘a city built on a hill-top’, then through our existence, we are to be seen and noticed (as disciples of Christ) for the Glory of God the Father in Heaven.

“Lord, you ask of us to be the salt and the light of the world. Through our existence you ask of us to make a difference in the world around us. Give us the strength that we need to be able to give evidence of your presence in our life and to make a better world around us. Thank you Lord!”


Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo )

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