So far, this new year has been a whirlwind.
I was reading a Washington columnist described the other day the way you see things from the capital of the nation: “We are living through defining moments in history and here nobody knows where we are going or what will end this period. All- the left, right and center – earth feel that sinks underfoot. They are spending too much. ”
I think we all experience the same thing, even here, across the country, in Los Angeles, because we feel that things are unstable and uncertain, and we do not know what happens next.
As I said in my column last week, much of this is unnecessary and could have been avoided. It should have been avoided. Because we are scaring good people who should not have to live that way.
Amid all this, it is important that we stay together, to gather strength from each other and to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.
I was giving the sermon the other day here in our chapel Archdiocesan Catholic Center and was the first reading of the Letter to the Hebrews: ” Let us persevere in running the race that lies before us, keeping his eyes fixed on Jesus.”
I think this should be our “action plan” in this time of transition and uncertainty. I said before the election that no matter who us elect as our president, for Jesus Christ is still our king. And that’s true. We need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus.
And while I was preparing for Mass this Sunday, I began to reflect on the words of our Lord in the Sermon on the Mount. And again, I found a “plan of action”. There, Jesus speaks to each of us personally. He says, “You are the salt of the earth. … You are the light of the world. ”
This is our mission as Catholics. Each of us has a role to play in that mission. No matter what is happening in this country, we are called to be salt and light.
Jesus uses these images are interesting. Because salt and light does not really exist for themselves. Do not eat the salt itself. We use it to flavor other foods. The same is true with light. We turn on a light to see when it is dark.
Jesus is using these images to tell us that our lives do not belong to us. We belong to God and are here to serve the purposes of him.
We are called to be missionaries – all of us – disciples. No matter who we are or what our role in the Church. Jesus is sending us, each of us, to this world to be salt and light to be.
He is sending us to be the salt of the earth. He is calling us to add a “new flavor” to the world. To “spice” things of this world with a Christian perspective, with the wisdom of the Gospel, with the promise of love and mercy of God. We are called to share with all the beautiful vision of Christ to life and human society.
We can not allow our Catholic identity is “diluted”. This is the temptation of our society, which is becoming deeply “secularized” and God is doing a “foreign” in the world he created.
As a society, we are losing our “taste” for God and the things of the Spirit. We are moving away, increasingly, of the values and virtues that God gave us, saying that they are no longer relevant to our government and our economy, our culture and our personal lives.
And as a result, people are turning on itself. People are becoming more selfish, more isolated. Insensitive and indifferent to the needs of others.
And the temptation is presented to us is simply to “get carried away” by this trend, losing what is distinctive of our Catholic being, our followers to be Christ. We can not afford to become warm and anonymous Christians. That’s what that image of the “salt” means to me.
We need to pursue the highest standards of Jesus in the way we act and the way we talk. Especially those who disagree with us or have opinions different from ours.
Jesus calls us to love our enemies. When I think of the rhetoric that comes from our political class and protest movements, I see that we are far from that.
But our actions, our attitudes and our words are important, all of them. For all contribute to “human ecology”, the moral and spiritual climate of our society.We need to be salt and light and need to call our neighbors to seek peace, justice and common ground.
Pray for me this week, that I will pray for you. Continue to pray for our country and for our leaders, and ask the Blessed Virgin Mary to help us keep our eyes fixed on Jesus and be salt and light in these troubling days. VN
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The new book by Archbishop José H. Gomez, ‘Immigration and the family