5th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Isaiah 58:7-10 II:
13 "You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trodden under foot by men.
14 "You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hid.
15 Nor do men light a lamp and put it under a bushel, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house.
16 Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.
- Salt is used to give flavor to food, to preserve food quality,
to purify, and to use in a sacrifice.
- Salt can also be used to burn fuel. Young girls in some cultures, even
today, collect donkey or camel dung, mix it with salt, shape it into cakes,
dry it in the sun, and use it as fuel in an earth-oven with a layer of salt at the
bottom. In Jesus' language, "earth" and "earth oven" are the same. Salt helps
this dung fuel burn. The salt
can "lose its taste" because after awhile it does not help to burn the dung
cakes any more, and thus "thrown outside and walked upon." This use of salt,
mainly to make fire, is closely connected to the next image, "light of the
- "Light of the world" and "city set upon a mountain" refer to the same image,
namely Jerusalem (and its people) on Mt. Zion is supposed to be a "light to
nations" (Is 2:2-5, 42:6, 49:6).
- Many houses in Palestine have only one room, so a clay oil lamp can light
the whole house.
- Jesus is talking to the whole world, using words like "earth," "world," "all
in the house."
One Main Point
Disciples have a mission to bring out the best in the whole
world. When this gospel was written, Jesus' followers were being persecuted, yet
they still participate in Jesus' mission to save the world.
- Do I salt and light up the world? What good work do I do?
- Salt and fire are not good by itself, but bring out the good in others. Do
- When I do good work do I "glorify Father in heaven" or myself?
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A synthesis by the Vietnamese Christian Life (Dong Hanh) Community