In the course of the Sermon on the Mount Jesus told his disciples: “You are the salt of the earth……. You are the light of the world.” (Mt. 5: 13-16)  The opening lines of Chapter 5 of Matthew’s gospel tell us Jesus was not speaking just to his immediate followers, the apostles, but to the crowds that came to hear him.  In an even larger sense, Jesus is speaking to all those down through the ages who truly want to be his disciples.

Jesus is asking his followers to do something more than deplore evil in the world.  He   is asking us to give witness to what it means to be his disciple by the way we live.  He      is urging his followers to witness the special flavor faith in Him gives to our lives.

In a depressed world the disciple of Jesus should be one who remains full of joy. In an anxious world, one who remains hopeful.  In a hateful world one, who remains caring and committed to love of neighbor.

When Jesus adds: “You are the light of the world.  Let your light shine before all.” He is clearly calling us to be his witnesses in an explicit and visible way.  Someone put it very well in saying there can be no such thing as secret discipleship.  Either the secrecy destroys the discipleship or the discipleship destroys the secrecy.

This witnessing is never for the purpose of self-fulfillment. It is never to draw attention  to one’s self but to God. The good works we are called to do will never be a kind of theatrical goodness.  In Jesus’ own words the purpose of witnessing is “that seeing your good works they may give praise to your Father in heaven,”

The witnessing is not something we do in church.  Jesus did not say you are the light of the church  We are called to witness by the way we lead our daily lives, especially by the way we treat our brothers and sisters in the concrete routine activities which bring us into contact with them day by day.

And Jesus suggests specifically the kind of good works we are called upon to do in    the world. They are the good works he spoke of earlier in his address to the crowds:  the gentleness, the compassion, the mercy, the self-effacement, the sacrifice, the   peace-making he praised in the beatitudes.