Sermons

Summary: 5th Sunday, Year A, Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

The late Pentecostal preacher David du Plessis was once approached by a Christian who complained that people don’t seem thirsty for the Lord these days. Without missing a beat, du Plessis replied, “It’s not that they are not thirsty enough. It’s that we are not salty enough!”

Since moisture makes salt clump together, many people put rice in their salt shakers so that any moisture in the shaker will be absorbed by the uncooked rice grains.

However, a lot of salt sold today has “anti-caking agents” in the salt that absorbs moisture or coats the salt to make it water-repellent.

If you wish to avoid such chemicals, your brand of salt can only list one sole ingredient: “salt.”

As long as pure salt is kept dry, it will persist forever without changing its properties.

“You are the salt of the earth” Jesus tells his disciples.

1. Purity is one of the Biblical meanings of salt. Nothing else added. Single-hearted for the Lord.

e.g. in Exodus 30:35 “seasoned with salt” makes the sacrifice “pure and holy.” Here, salt has the explicit connotation of purity. Salt added purity to the sacrifice by which Israel was strengthened and fortified in covenant fellowship with God. This is also echoed by St. Paul when he says in Colossians 4:6: “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt.” That means wholesome, gracious speech.

Since salt points to sacrifice, self-denial and dying to self is part of being a disciple.

Notice that salt is not for itself; it is seasoning for food. Disciples are there not for themselves but for others.

e.g. for married women in their child-bearing years, by asking your husband to learn about one the highly effective natural family planning methods instead risking your health and soul by oral contraceptives. See Genesis, chapter 38 and Catholic Church teaching in Humanae Vitae, written by Pope St. Paul VI in 1968, to see a brief but beautiful and clear teaching about God's plan for married love and the transmission of life.

Part of the metaphor of salt is worldwide evangelism. The influence of believers thus has eternal ramifications on others.

2. There are four basic tastes: sweet, sour, salty, and bitter, but it’s interesting how salt on chocolate makes the chocolate taste sweeter.

When your saltier, you can be sweet too!

Like regular service for others--The AA Big Book says, “Our very lives, as ex-problem drinkers, depend upon our constant thought of others and how we may help meet their needs.”

e.g. The First Reading says: Thus says the LORD: Share your bread with the hungry, shelter the oppressed and the homeless; clothe the naked when you see them, and do not turn your back on your own.

When they got home from exile in Babylon after 50 years, they found their cities and farms in a worse state than ever. They had to rebuild everything, their farms, their homes, their businesses, their cities, their temple. In rebuilding, they fell into injustice, oppression, and internal conflicts, so the restoration will be stalled. When God’s people becomes a society based on compassion rather than oppression, justice rather than injustice, the restoration will go forward.

3. Lastly, the salt which has lost its taste has more sand and earth than salt because it was quarried that way: blocks of salt mixed with lots of sand.

Salt cannot literally lose it taste unless is so admixed with impurities of various kinds and moisture dissolves what little salt there was to begin with.

The Devil hates salt, as Father Montague explains:

"Salt never appeared at the witches' table [because] it is an emblem of eternity, [and so there was] the absence of salt at these infernal banquets. 'At these meals,' …'salt never appears'. (The History of Witchcraft, p. 145, Barnes and Noble Books).

As a Catholic sacramental, salt can be blessed by a priest or deacon and is normally mixed into holy water, but it does not have to. In whichever form, it is intended to be an instrument of grace to preserve one from the corruption of evil occurring as sin-sickness, demonic influence, or other evil manifestation.

E.g. at the start of the Prophet Elisha’s ministry, he is called on to purify the cursed water of Jericho and so Elisha used salt which cured the toxicity of the waters and also desalinated it so that once again it could become potable.

For salt to lose its taste means it has become “unsavory.” Not so much a lack of intelligence as the perversion of a will turned away from God.

Excluded from the kingdom.

The expressions “to be thrown out” and “to be trampled underfoot” means judgment. The street was where tasteless salt was dumped and people would walk all over it, which is expressive of contempt and scorn.

Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another (Mark 9:49-50).

Amen.

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