The Greek sage Aristotle once said, "Poverty is the parent of revolution and crime." I reflected on these words for a few days and I found sense in his words. I read more witty quotes from the life of Jesus. The public ministry of Jesus unveiled his mission and vision to the people of Israel. With no contact with the people, Jesus could not have displayed such altruism in dealing with the issues of those he met. Yet, through his daily contact with the ordinary people he demonstrated his inner love for them. He was able to match words with action, and the people could relate with him because they needed a simple man with simple answers to their complex problems.
One of the problems the people of Israel faced was the domination of the Romans over their land, and the overbearing attitude of those who governed them. The people wanted an exemplary leader who would contrast the attitude of the Romans and give them hope for the future. In everyday life, the people encountered stern actions from the authorities that clearly demonstrated who was in charge and why.
Jesus made the difference. He taught the people new ways of viewing their precarious situation. Imagine hearing this teaching for the first time: You are the salt of the earth. You are the light of the world. Many biblical scholars have written many commentaries about these words. They are as relevant today as they were then. We need hope in a bleak world.
The situation of the world today seems not too far from what the people of Israel encountered. The confusion that exists in the world today is due to many factors. However, the general fear among people is characterized by alienation, deceit, and authoritarianism that further throw darkness over their depressing feelings. What the heck is happening to our beautiful world? At this moment there is no threat to a global catastrophe, but the general outcry for peace and tranquility supports the assumption that something is wrong somewhere. The words of Jesus are important at this point in time to remind ourselves that we can be the salt of the earth and illumine his light into the dark soul of the world.
The Prophet Isaiah gives us commonsense advice that keeps love flowing from side to side. Sharing our bread with the hungry plus clothing the naked tests our commonsense attitude toward confronting problems affecting the world. Oppression and malicious speech are tools used by the enemy to divide people whose focus should be unity. The focus of social justice entails facing the bulk of the issues bedeviling our societies with clear solutions motivating us to action.
Christians are the ones who listen to the words of Jesus and live them in real life. St. Paul testified about Jesus with works of love to his fellow converts by living a life of love. St. Teresa of Calcutta once said, "The hunger for love is much more difficult to remove than the hunger for bread." In other words, people do not only need bread because they are hungry, they need love because they are unloved. This was the reason why Jesus instructed the people of Israel to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world so that their positive actions could touch the lives of others. Salt seasons our food, and light illuminates our environment. When Christians make the difference in the lives of others, they bring joy and happiness to desperate souls whose lives are made hopeless by the dark forces that operate in the world. Indeed, Christians should strive to bring love to others so that desperate souls can see our good works and give glory to our heavenly Father.
Jesus' public ministry laid the foundation for us to follow. He cured the sick, raised the dead, fed the hungry, and showed compassion to those needing forgiveness. What else do we need to emulate Jesus? Start a few positive actions in your area and transform the few people who are within the sphere of your influence. Think of what John Hagee said, "The fundamental principle of Christianity is to be what God is, and he is light." Keep smiling!BACK TO LIST