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Today’s gospel reading presents a monumental challenge to us. (Mt. 5: 13-16) It begins with a compliment that one could consider as a “hook” (as in: “Be careful not to get hooked into something you can’t do”) but when we hear Jesus say: “You are the salt of the earth!”, it’s hard not to get puffed up and think we can do anything. It’s the same when we hear: “You are the light of the world!” The difficulty comes with reading the second part of each of those declarations of Jesus. Look back and see if you don’t feel deflated occasionally when you’re having a bad day and you hear about salt losing its taste or light set under a bushel basket unable to be seen…

I suggest we look at both of the full statements as the words of a cheerleader instead. “Come on!” Jesus says. “You can do it! Shine! You are such a brilliant light! Just keep going! Keep trying! Be the light you want to see in the world! Shine! Shine! Shine!”