Have you ever been in a room full of people and wondered if your presence was significant? Have you ever been around even one other person who made you question the power of your internal beauty and your uniqueness? Have you worked somewhere or lived somewhere that made you question your relevance? Well, I have. At this moment, I am seating in the nave of the church on campus; the lights are dim, it is quiet, and there is just enough daylight outside that brings the images on the stained-glass windows to life. I looked towards the tabernacle and thought, “there is the head”; I looked at the main altar and thought, “there is the heart”; I then looked at the baptism font near the main doors and thought with a smile, “yes, there is her womb”. All of a sudden I wondered, “Where do I belong? Is my presence in here of any relevance? Do I just warm the pews when I go to mass or do I add something to the liturgy? Am I a flavorful presence in ministry? It is difficult to stand tall when one does not know ones worth. It is a struggle to shine when we are hiding under a bushel of hurts, disappointments, fears, and regrets. The readings today are saying, You Matter! We Matter! We are the salt and light of the world. Now, although we are usually asked to cut back on salt, our bodies actually need a bit of salt for our health. There is even a special area on our tongues that enable us to taste salt fully. We are made that way. If we are salt, then just as salt can help transmit nerve impulses throughout our bodies and help with the contraction and relaxation of muscles in our heart, then yes, we do contribute to the health of the church in one way or another. We add flavor; we preserve; we enhance. When we live as children of God, we preserve goodness in the world; our very presence adds flavor to a world that can be a little tasteless sometimes; and when we don’t hide, we light the path of others, and are beacons of hope in the world.
For those who work in the church or serve in some type of ministry, it is not always easy to see oneself as a preserving agent or enhancing agent, and it is not always easy for others to see us as fellow beacons of light and preservers of love for the greater glory of God. Sometimes ministry loses its vigor; loses its flavor, and truth be told, it’s sometimes difficult to find enjoyment in the work of God, but Elijah and the widow in the first reading shows us that when we hear God’s voice, and do God’s will, all our needs will be met; our purpose is revealed. If we, like Elijah and the widow, can trust that our needs will be met, then we will never lose our flavor; we will never lose our zeal to preserve goodness and love. So, come out from under the bushel, courageously walk out from the dark, sit up, stand up, let your good deeds be known—this world loses its flavor without you, child of God; it is dark without your light—your God given light. “You are the light of the world”, “you are the salt of the world”, “you are a city set on a mountain”, these should be our daily affirmations. Let us keep our heads up, straighten our shoulders, and make our voices heard. Let our light be seen by everyone for the greater glory of God.