The similes of salt and light » Manila Bulletin News



Mt 5:13-16

Jesus said to his disciples: 13“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. 14You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. 15Nor 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. 16Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”


Salt of the earth. In Biblical times, as in our own, salt is seen as a necessity of life. It is used as a condiment to give taste to food and to preserve food from decay and corruption. It also has medicinal purposes: it is customary to rub salt on a newborn child. Lastly, salt is associated with sacrifices: it is strewn on sacrificial offerings, and incense is “seasoned with salt.” Jesus enjoins salt with the mutual loyalty of covenant relationship: “Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another” (Mk 9:50).

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus alludes to the life-giving and preservative qualities of salt. The disciples who live the spirit of the Beatitudes are the salt of the earth. On the other hand, the disciples who are spoiled by daily compromises become “tasteless” and are no longer capable of transforming the world. The disciples cannot be fence-sitters in the mission of enkindling the lives of people; they cannot remain “lukewarm”—neither hot nor cold. They have to shine before others in order that God may be glorified.

“Wake up the world!” Pope Francis tells consecrated men and women. How can you be “salt” to others and “wake them up”?

Source: “365 Days with the Lord 2017,” ST. PAULS Philippines, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail:; Website:

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