Today’s headline comes from the end of a short passage (Mt 5:13-16) that follows immediately the Beatitudes which begin the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5-7). We are salt that must not lose its flavor. We are light not to be hidden under a basket but to “shine before others.”
The Beatitudes give Jesus’ hearers instructions on living; the similes of salt and light found in this reading tell them to live the Beatitudes boldly.
Note that in the closing words of the reading good deeds are required but not so that we should garner praise. Rather, any good we do redounds to God. This emphasis on humility is a key takeaway from this passage. Whenever humility comes up in Scripture (and it does very often), my thoughts turn to Luke 17:10: “When you have done all you have been commanded, say, ‘We are unprofitable servants; we have done what we were obliged to do.'” Jesus is not simply requesting or suggesting here, He is commanding. We are obliged to comply. When praise comes our way, we don’t deny our gifts, we simply acknowledge the giver. Let us let our light shine, do good deeds, and give the glory to God. Then we are in right relationship with the Creator and the creature.