You are a Gift.
When you hear Jesus say “You are the salt of the earth…” “You are the light of the world…” what do you think? Do you hear it as a command or exhortation or invitation to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world? Certainly the conclusion of each statement seems that way. But I think we often miss the fact that the beginning of each of these statements is neither a command, nor an exhortation, nor even an invitation – but a deliberate affirmation.
Jesus is quite simply saying to us that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world. That each one of us actually adds something to the universe, that we actually have something to offer.
As the late Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said in his first homily as Pope:
“We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is a result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary.”
Do you believe that? Do you believe that God actually thought about you when He created you? That God deliberately chose you, out of all the possible people He could have put in your place? That God loved you into existence and thinks you are necessary? And that simply because of who you are, you have by that very fact, something to offer to the world?
Salt cannot actually lose its saltiness, but it can become diluted. Light from a lamp cannot lose its luminosity, but it can be obscured or extinguished. As long as we are alive, we can never entirely lose the gift of who we are, although we can dilute or obscure it.
Sometimes we think we need to be someone we are not in order to have something to offer – but what we are really doing is diluting or obscuring the gift of who we are. Finding your vocation is discovering the gift of who you are, and having the courage to offer that gift to the world.