“All of you are the salt of the earth! But if salt loses its flavor, can anything make it salty again? What is it good for if it has no taste? It’ll just be thrown outside and people will walk on it just as if it were common dirt.
“All of you are the light of the world! You can’t hide a city that sits on top of a hill. And no one lights a lamp just to hide it under a basket. You light a lamp and put it in the best place for it to light up the room. Everything in the house is visible because of its light! Be like the lamp! Shine your light in front of people! People will see the good things that you do and they will praise your Father in heaven for it.
I always like this passage because it reminds me of when I was very young and had a Donald Duck night light. This was the early to mid-seventies and we did not have fancy technology where night lights had sensors so that they would turn off in the presence of light and on when it became dark. In those days night lights had a simple on/off switch.
During the day, when the room was lit, and the night light was still on, it was impossible to see its light. It looked the same as if it were off. The light was so small and dim that it was bleached out by the light of day. But at night, that tiny light that could not be seen during the day would illumine the whole room. The darker the night, the brighter the light seemed to shine.
I am one of those people who put up the Christmas Tree early. I like basking in the warm, happy glow of the lights. I hate it in January when the lights no longer shine. The Christmas Tree lights are tiny and added together on a string of lights, the room is lit.
That is what I think of when I read or hear “You (all of you) are the light of the world.” All of us are tiny lights that shine in the darkness of the world. All of us can be like walking Christmas Trees, covered in tiny lights that make the world brighter and warmer and happier.
The good thing about living in a world filled with darkness is that it does not take a lot to make a difference. That tiny Donald Duck light that could not be seen by day lit the room at night – it destroyed darkness. Those tiny Christmas Tree lights destroy the deep darkness of the living room and replace it with a warm glow. It may not be a bright light, but it is enough, and it is a good light.
We are the light of the world, and Jesus tells us to shine. How do we shine? We shine by doing. The light we have is love, and love is only love when it is put into action. St. Gregory the Great said that the proof of love is in the works. Where there is love there is great work. When the works cease, the love ceases to exist.
It does not matter what our works are. It does not matter how brightly we shine. It only matters that we shine, that we work, that we love. St. Teresa of Avila tells us that God does not look so much on the greatness of our deeds, but at the love with which we do them. That means God does not care how brightly we shine, only that we shine. Every act of love is like putting another light on the Christmas Tree.
You are the light of the world – so shine and let others see your light.