For most of us, if we look at our own self, we are too private. It is my life, my house, my property and my privacy; no encroaching please! Our privacy is sacred for us and it needs respect and protection, agreed. However, for us Christians can we afford to get into this rigid position and still boast of being a believer in Jesus Christ? Did he not tell us that

we are lamps lit and placed on the lamp stick in order that all may see the light and that it should not be kept under the bushel barrel?

How can our privacy practice and this teaching of Jesus or this privilege bestowed on us by him go together?

In today’s gospel Jesus tells that

we are the light of the world and the salt of the earth.

If we accept his teaching we can no longer afford to be so private. Light cannot that easily be privatized; so too salt of the earth. In other words, we are made for others and not exclusively for our own self and so are not just private. Our rulers and those wielding power are trying to banish God from our land, our world and even from our private life. The freedom to practice our religion is slowly and systematically being encroached and slowly eliminated. Our freedom of speech and of expression and opinion are equally being reduced and done away with. Believers are gradually accepting and even propagating the position that our faith and beliefs should be kept strictly private and within closed walls. In other words, there should not be any public expression of faith. That is, don’t be the light of the world and the salt of earth, but just be private!
Christians to be true to that name are truly in a relation with Christ and consequently with every Christian. Christianity does not rule out any human being from the family of God and so all are in the same relationship of being in the one and same family. The most important aspect nurtured in the family is love and that is what Christianity stands for. Love’s expression is possible only in a community, which should lead us to communion. By nature Christians are commissioned and obliged to proclaim, share and witness to this love. This is what Jesus demands us through

‘shining as light and becoming salt to the earth’

No Christian is exempted from this command. Not necessarily shouting from the street corner or from the pulpit, but often in a critical conversation with a friend, a co-worker, a family member, a stranger and so one, we can shine as light and be salt to earth! Prophet Isaiah today gives more illustrations to

make our lights to break forth like the dawn! (Isaiah 58:6-10).

Fr. George