Gospel Matthew 5:13-16

“Jesus said to his disciples”

It is almost cliché – so often we listen to or read the Gospel’s and each episode begins with these words, ‘Jesus said to his disciples…’.

Rightly, we will often focus on the words or actions which follow, but for now, let’s dwell on these words themselves. The Gospels are not merely collections of Jesus’ sayings and stories of the things he did – they are accounts that testify to a presence that impacted the reality of the lives of their authors.

These simple words communicate something which is, in fact, quite profound. These stories, sayings or words of advice are not simply abstract points of wisdom that have no history, but as the words of a man, who lived, and walked and talked.

This is perhaps one of the most profound elements of the Catholic-Christian faith, that God, the Second Person of the Trinity takes on flesh in the person of Jesus, and enters into human history in a particular time and a particular place. These words then, take on a meaning that is far more significant than random words of encouragement or advice that, often unattributed, adorn fridge magnets and inspirational posters.

This detail is in fact all important – Jesus said these words to his disciples, and he says them to us also.

Jesus speaks.

His words are not simply thought-ending clichés. His are words which give life. They are words which are spoken by one who seeks us out, who offers us an opportunity to respond.

They call us forward out of mediocrity, to become the salt of the earth, to become a light in the darkness. Let us all pray for the courage to accept this call.

Point to Ponder

‘Christian spirituality is not an escape from the flesh; it is an embrace of the humility of the flesh. St. Thomas Aquinas said the sacramental way of salvation is good because it forces us to accept the flesh, to find Christ with our flesh, rather than blame the flesh for our sins.’

Lorenzo Albacete, The Humility of the Flesh