Memory of the Mother of the Lord

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Reading of the Word of God

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

The Spirit of the Lord is upon you.
The child you shall bear will be holy.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Matthew 5, 13-16

'You are salt for the earth. But if salt loses its taste, what can make it salty again? It is good for nothing, and can only be thrown out to be trampled under people's feet.

'You are light for the world. A city built on a hill-top cannot be hidden.

No one lights a lamp to put it under a tub; they put it on the lamp-stand where it shines for everyone in the house.

In the same way your light must shine in people's sight, so that, seeing your good works, they may give praise to your Father in heaven.


Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Look down, O Lord, on your servants.
Be it unto us according to your word.

Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia

Jesus tells his disciples that they are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. We are still at the beginning of the preaching of the Gospel, and the disciples surely cannot boast of acting in such an exemplary way that they deserve to be called “people of the Beatitudes.” And yet Jesus insists, “if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored?” In this question is hidden a question about responsibility. Jesus seems to be saying: “I have no one else besides you to proclaim the Gospel,” or, “If your behaviour is bland and tasteless, I have no other way to proclaim the Gospel.” That is what happens when a lighted lamp is put under a basket (sometimes an upside down basket was used as a stand). There is nothing to be done: it is dark. We all know that we are poor men and women, full of limits and defects. And yet the Gospel insists: “You are the salt of the earth.” This is true, but we are not salt by ourselves. We are only salt if we remain united to the true salt and the true light, Jesus of Nazareth. Unlike other people, Jesus’ disciples are not condemned to hide their weakness and misery from God. Weakness and misery do not threaten God’s power; they do not erase it. If anything they exalt it. The first one not to be ashamed of our weakness is the Lord himself; his light is not extinguished by our shadows. And it is important to remember that there is no scorn for humanity in the Gospel; there is no antipathy on the Lord’s part. He knows everything about us. And he loves us as we are. Of course he loves us to make us different, to make us grow in love and not selfishness. God’s love for us is not sentimentality, but energy that changes, helps, sustains, and defends us. Jesus then adds: “In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.” This is the invitation the Lord is making to us, now, in our time, that we might become workers for the Gospel. We are salt and light not by merit but by grace. The Lord, who has pulled us from loneliness and death by uniting us in communion with him and with our brothers and sisters, makes us part of his light and his life so that we might become a leavening of love and a light of hope for a world that is often disoriented and without a future.