by Ian Casabay
At the end of every mass, the priest or deacon dismisses the faithful by proclaiming "Go forth, the mass is ended" (or if you also attend the traditional latin mass like me, it is "ite missa est," which means “go, it is sent”), just as Jesus had commissioned his disciples right before his ascension into heaven. At this great commissioning, after having received our Lord himself in the Holy Eucharist, as well as the priest’s final blessing, the faithful are called to do some sort of action with their lives, once they leave the church. Realize that we do not commission ourselves, but rather God commissions us, through his clerics, to do the work he tasks each and every one of us with. But some may ask, “what ought we do after we leave the mass?” I myself have asked this question multiple times.
From February third to the fifth, I attended the weekend EPIC retreat on Oahu, “Salt, Light, City, Deeds.” The retreat was filled with amazing Christ-centered people, and activities that had enriched our community and spiritual lives. It was on this retreat that I had been given an answer. As our Lord states in the gospel of Matthew, “You are the salt of the earth; but if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trodden underfoot” (Matthew 5:13). As salt gives more flavor to the food it seasons, so too as Catholic Christians, are called by our Lord to give flavor to the world. Our Lord in the same chapter of Matthew’s gospel, also states, “You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house” (Matthew 5:14-15). As followers of Christ, we are also called by Jesus to be a light unto the world; a light that is not meant to be hidden, but to be seen by all. You might ask yourself: “How am I to live out what our Lord says we ought to be?” Everyone has their own unique gifts which the Lord bestows upon us. Just as many recipes call for the dish to be seasoned to taste, everyone has their own unique gifts that add a unique flavor to the world in different ways. Possibly, your gift is reaching out to people. Perhaps your gift may be sharing your powerful witness to others. Even the smallest tasks that we have the ability to do, can make us the salt of the earth and the light of the world. A smile at a stranger could lighten up their day, and even asking how their day was could make all the difference. As St. Therese of Liseux once said, “A word or smile is often enough to put fresh life in a despondent soul.” Even though we may not think the small things help our cause to be salt and light, they still contribute to it, as even the smallest actions can make a big difference in someone’s life.
As being salt of the earth and light of the world, we also need to recharge our “saltiness” and our “light.” As Jesus had said that “if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned?,” we ought to recharge ourselves in order to share our salt and light in deeds with the world. Thankfully, Jesus has left us ways to recharge ourselves. Through the sacraments of his church, we are spiritually recharged and made anew to renew our mission of being the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
For me, my time being in EPIC has allowed me to be that salt and to shine the light that God has called me to. I first joined EPIC in the summer of 2022 when I was invited by EPIC Maui’s chapter coordinator, Cecilia, to a faith sharing. I had attended the Christian Leadership Institute (CLI) of that year to serve on the adult team as a small group leader. This is where I met St. Theresa’s youth ministry coordinator, who gave my number to Cecilia. At first, I was hesitant at joining the ministry and had overthought about it. At first, it felt a little awkward being new in the ministry, but eventually, it has come to be a family. I had also attended a few past EPIC retreats, which empowered my spiritual life, and bond with other members of EPIC Ministry. I am now serving on the core team for EPIC Maui as the logistics officer, where I can fulfill my duty of being salt and light, by helping to plan and set up events, as well as to reach out to other young adults who may want to be part of a Catholic young adult community. I had also been given the chance to serve as a small group leader during EPIC’s ninth season of small group ministry. Through the small group ministry, I got to form stronger bonds with some of our chapter members, as well as form a stronger spiritual life along with them.
So, go forth and do what God has called you to do. Remember that you are not alone as God is always with you on this journey. Add your salt to this world and never put on a mask to hide the true light God wants you to shine. Always do the littlest of things to better this world. Remember, even one percent counts. Add your flavor to the world and shine your light upon it.
Ian Casabay is a 3rd year undergraduate student at University of Hawaii Maui College (UHMC) working on his Associates in Liberal Arts. He current serves as the EPIC Maui Core Team Logistics Officer, an Altar Server for Christ the King and for the Traditional Latin Mass at Maria Lanakila, and a Catechist Aid for high school religious education at Christ the King.