Being salt and light


My life was once graced by the presence of a human dynamo. He was short, a ball of energy and irrepressible. We nicknamed him “Mighty Mouse.” He was salt and light to those who knew him and we were better for being associated with him and in his care. 

Those who knew St Peter Canisius (1521-1597), a sixteenth century Jesuit saint, would have thought of him as salt and light. Indeed, he is sometimes referred to as Germany’s second apostle, St Boniface (672-754) being the first. Both men made significant contributions to the reformation of the Church in their times. 

Who are the apostles of today? As I worked on this Gospel Enquiry, my mind was distracted by the thought that the Christmas I see advertised on TV lacks the influence of apostolic figures. God’s ambassadors are nowhere to be seen on commercial TV. There is no salt, only sweetness; and no light, except for the “heavenly” voices of choirs singing medleys of favourite Christmas songs. Let them be God’s ambassadors reminding us of the coming of Christ.  


Jesus said to his followers, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its salty taste, it cannot be made salty again. It is good for nothing, except to be thrown out and walked on.

“You are the light that gives light to the world. A city that is built on a hill cannot be hidden. And people don’t hide a light under a bowl. They put it on a lampstand so the light shines for all the people in the house. In the same way, you should be a light for other people. Live so that they will see the good things you do and will praise your Father in heaven.

“Don’t think that I have come to destroy the law of Moses or the teaching of the prophets. I have not come to destroy them but to bring about what they said. I tell you the truth, nothing will disappear from the law until heaven and earth are gone. Not even the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will be lost until everything has happened. Whoever refuses to obey any command and teaches other people not to obey that command will be the least important in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys the commands and teaches other people to obey them will be great in the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:13-19 – New Century Version)

The Enquiry 


  • Jesus instructs his followers. He instructs us. He is intent on preparing them and us also to be his apostles. As God’s ambassadors, we are meant to be “salt and light” to all whom we meet. What is salt and light about Jesus in this Gospel? 

  • Who in your life acts as God’s ambassadors? When, where and how are they salt and light to and for you and others?   

  • What and who changed because Jesus was salt and light to and for them? How are you changing because Jesus tells you that you are called to be salt and light to and for others? 


  • What do you think about being told that you are meant to be salt and light to and for others? 

  • What does your faith tell you about the qualities, characteristics and purposes of salt and light? When and where do you see these attributes in the world? 

  • How did Jesus ensure that he would always be salt and light to and for others, including us?


  • As you think about the world in which you live, what do you identify as being the area of greatest need? What needs to change so that people’s dignity is affirmed and celebrated? 

  • As one of God’s ambassadors, what small action can you take, so that you can be salt and light to and for others?

  • Who can you involve in your action and how and when will you get them to participate in your action?

Author: Pat Branson 

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