June 10, 2014 - TUESDAY 10TH WEEK:

1 KINGS 17:7-16 ; MATTHEW 5:13-16

YOU ARE THE LIGHT OF THE WORLD.  Matthew informs us that our Lord addressed these words to his disciples who were part of a large crowd that has assembled after learning that he was in the neighborhood.  The impression is that he spoke so that all could hear his words but that he especially addressed those who had already shown a more personal commitment to him.  Jesus was a man of extraordinary vision in more than one sense of the word.  We know that he possessed the gift of interior, mystical visions, for he himself explicitly told us of a striking such an experience.  (Luke 10:17) "I saw Satan falling like lightening from heaven."  More impressively he was to assert later in his ministry that he possessed a personal knowledge of God whom he referred to as his Father: "I speak what I have seen in my Father's presence." (John 8:38)

What courage was required to affirm publicly and with unqualified assurance that these quite ordinary persons were the salt of the earth and the light of the world.  As we know today, among those who heard him speak so boldly and with striking assurance, were men who, not long after, were in fact to fail him in a time of crisis.  Only after Jesus suffered their abandonment followed by his death and then by his resurrection and the sending of his Holy Spirit, was his word vindicated by the remarkable success of their bold and courageous witness.  What a strikingly remarkable change in Saint Peter's character as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles as he witnesses to the risen Christ in the days after Pentecost.  Not only his first speech but his consistent display of confident initiative in a variety of circumstances enabled him to spread the word of the gospel that conveys the light that is life in his ministry following the coming of the Holy Spirit.

In pronouncing these simple words using the images from daily life of salt and lamplight early on in his public ministry the carpenter from Nazareth was initiating a world transforming movement that has continued to be felt through the centuries, even into our own times.  Just as Peter faltered on occasion, as happened at Antioch briefly, the salt of Christ's word became flat for a short while, the light has always managed to flare up again, and the salt's tang recover it sharpness, growing active again in some fresh situation.  We were privileged to witness such an abrupt flaring up of the light of Christ in so unlikely a way as occurred in Soviet Russia just a few decades ago.  The preservation of the power and light of life kept shining in the celebration of the Eucharist even now continues to be a source of hope and of courage in our world.  May our presence at this altar serve to give renewed flavor and light to the message entrusted to each one of us as members of Christ's body, the Church; And under the influence of his Holy Spirit bring fresh hope and life to our faltering society today.

Abbot John Eudes Bamberger