Fifth Sunday, Year A, 5 February, 2023: Isaiah 58:7-10; 1 Corinthians 2:1-5; Matthew 5:33-46
Salt does not choose to be salty nor does light make any effort to shine: it is part of their natures. I believe the problems begin when, hearing this parable, we force ourselves to imitate the salt of the earth or the light of the world.
Is Jesus describing a goal to be manufactured, or an index to understand whether I’m genuine or a fake? May not the point be to know the truth about myself and not appear to be what I am not?
If I am neither salt nor light what can I do if I shouldn’t pretend to be what I am not? I could discover what is getting in the way and work on that. I could discover what is draining that potential and feed it what is lacking; or create a more hospitable space for those influences that might help.
If faking the real thing is not desirable, couldn’t I work on my pretenses, my efforts to be salt or light or the false modesty to conceal the light? Is my inferiority parading as modesty? Why do I do this?
One grain of salt is much like another: have I yet accepted that I’m dispensable? Do I aggressively impose on others what I know to compensate for my unimportance?
I probably need some help from someone to begin this work on myself, and just reaching in that direction would make me a little more down to earth and so much less of the self-proclaimed role model. To simply be myself, without pretending, without over-compensating is too simple for us complex human beings to achieve spontaneously. But I need to be sick of my playacting to begin to drop what is false; I just need to be tired of making the correct impression to begin to allow myself the freedom to be what God created.