Jesus commands men to perform good works and to be zealous evangelists. Every Catholic man can grow in happiness by seeking the Gift of Wisdom from the Holy Spirit so he can accept his vocation as a man of God and by building the Virtue of Diligence so he can reject sloth and diligently serve Jesus Christ and His Holy Catholic Church.
5th Week in Ordinary Time – Sunday – Cycle A – Mt 5:13-16
Continuing The Sermon on the Mount, Jesus uses a metaphor of salt, a trivial and seemingly common mineral, to confirm that His men must evangelize. As is true today, salt was highly valued for it preserved food, brought joy to life and was essential for health. Like salt, disciples are called to bring the Gospel to others because it preserves lives, families and societies, brings the joy of Jesus into the lives of men and is essential for spiritual health and the salvation of souls. Salt was also associated with being a priest (Num 18:19) and kingship (2 Chron 13:5); through the metaphor of salt, Jesus is also mysteriously calling disciples to be priests and kings for the Gospel. Jesus gives the somber warning of the fatal danger of becoming lukewarm in the faith; those who lose their “saltiness” will be thrown out, an allusion to the condemnation in the Judgment for men who turn away from Jesus.
Using another powerful metaphor, light, Jesus calls on men to take the light of the Gospel to the world. Referring to the Heavenly Jerusalem (The Kingdom of Heaven), Jesus insists the disciples must not practice the faith in private but in public as part of a community. Jesus uses the humorous example of lighting a lamp and covering it with a basket to expose the absurdity of hiding one’s faith.
Jesus exhorts the disciples to let their light shine before others, performing good deeds through the blessing of the Holy Spirit, good deeds that move others to glorify God the Father. For the salvation of souls, every Catholic man must perform good deeds and proclaim the light of the Gospel to those who are lost in the darkness of sin.
Be awed by Jesus Christ
Marvel at how Jesus, the Divine Prophet, masterfully uses Pathos (appeals to the heart) and Logic, both parts of Reason, to make the case that men must glorify the Father: Jesus appeals to the hearts (Pathos) of men with highly memorable analogies (salt, light) and inspiration (a city on a mountain, a likely allusion to Jerusalem); Jesus uses deductive Logic to make the case for action (situation: men are given gifts; complication: gifts must be used; resolution: those who fail to use gifts are punished).
Accept the vocation to be a man of God
Realize: Using the simple analogies of “salt” and “light”, Jesus calls every Catholic man to the heroic and noble vocation to be a Catholic man of God who evangelizes and draws many souls to Him to be saved.
Believe: Reflect upon the People of God (CCC 781-786).
Pray: Holy Spirit, give me the Gift of Wisdom so I am drawn into union with God, know the reality that You have made me a man of God, and that You have given me the specific vocation to lead my family and many others to You and Your Holy Catholic Church.
Reject sloth and diligently serve Jesus
Realize: Using a metaphor of salt, Jesus ominously warns lukewarm men that they are like “salt that has lost it’s saltiness”, that they are “good for nothing”, and will be, “thrown out and trodden under foot”, an allusion that He will not allow the lukewarm to enter into Heaven.
Believe: Reflect upon the deadly sin of Acedia/Sloth (CCC 1866, 2094, 2733).
Pray: Jesus, Perfection of Virtue, help me build the Virtue of Diligence (a part of Temperance) so that I reject Sloth, vow to serve You, and zealously work each day to fulfill my duty as a spiritual father to draw many souls to You.