February begins with the feast of the Presentation on February 2. The universal Church also celebrates the World Day for Consecrated Life on this day and it is recalled in parishes the weekend of February 4–5. The image of light, the presence of the faithful seekers, the importance of prayer and contemplation—these are all part of a consecrated life devoted to witness and mission.
Last week we heard the Beatitudes proclaimed, a kind of instruction manual for life and a reminder to us all of what it means to be witnesses of love in mission. We may ask ourselves: How can we be our best selves in following the beatitudes? In today’s gospel reading (Matthew 5:13–16), Jesus applies the beatitudes to the hearers of the Sermon on the Mount by using the homey metaphors of salt as seasoning, and the single lamps that were used in the small living spaces of his time. Those who heard Jesus already knew how to be their best selves—give food to the hungry, shelter the homeless, and clothe the naked (today’s first reading). The need for these actions rings as true today for us as they did in Jesus’ time. If we take care of the neighbor, we are salt and light for the world.
We Sisters of Charity celebrate 2017 by recalling how we have been salt and light for New York for 200 years. And we are grateful for this privilege. But the gospel reading cautions us to pay attention to the “bushels” under which we may obscure Christ’s light in us personally, as congregation, as a nation. When we determine to become salt and light for others, we will experience God’s light. Praise will undoubtedly also come our way because our light points the way to Jesus who is the way and the light.
—Sister Dominica Rocchio, SC
Sr. Dominica, most recently a member of the Congregation’s leadership team, has ministered in education as a teacher, principal, and in administrative positions in the archdioceses of New York and Newark, NJ. In Newark, she served as Superintendent of Schools and Secretary for Education. At present, she works on Special Projects for the Congregation.