In the world: light

sermon-on-the-mount14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. 16 Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.

Light, like salt, affects its environment by being distinctive. The disciple who is visibly different from other men will influence them. But the aim of his good works is not to parade his own virtue, but to direct attention to the God who inspired them. By so doing the disciple will give light to all (cf. Phil. 2:15). Continue reading

In the world: salt

sermon-on-the-mount13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. 14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. 16 Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.

As Boring [181] notes, salt (cf. Mark 9:50; Luke 14:35) had several uses in the ancient world. In the OT, salt was added to sacrifices (Lev 2:13), connected with purity (Ex 30:35; 2 Kgs 2:19–22), symbolic of covenant loyalty (Num 18:19; Ezra 4:14), and used as a seasoning for food (Job 6:6). In the Mishnah salt is associated with wisdom (m. Sotah 9:15).  As well, salt was used as a preservative. It is easy to see how all the OT usages of salt would be possible connotations. Continue reading

In the world: discipleship

sermon-on-the-mount11 Blessed are you when they insult you and persecute you and utter every kind of evil against you [falsely] because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward will be great in heaven. Thus they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Verses 11-12 (not part of the Sunday gospel) are often called the 9th beatitude because of the opening phrase. But where vv.3-10 describe the good life, these verses bring it into contrast and begin to describe the cost (v.11) and remind the listener that you are simply joining a long tradition. The prophets who earlier proclaimed the kingdom and its demands were also persecuted. Continue reading

Distinctive

This week our Franciscan Provincial Minister, Fr. Kevin Mullen OFM, is visiting the parish – and preaching at all the Masses (thank you, Fr. Kevin!!). Nonetheless, I thought it good to share some thoughts on our gospel reading…

Sacred Heart, Tampa - ready for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Last week I wrote about the Sermon on the Mount, which contains the Beatitudes and is one of the great discourses in the Gospel according to Matthew.  I thought I would provide some more food for thought as our Sunday gospel continues with the Sermon on the Mount – better described as the Discourse of Discipleship. Continue reading