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Summary: Salt of the earth (Matt. 5:13) has become proverbial.

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5A Feb. 5

Do you know the word "sugar" never occurs in the Bible? In ancient times salt was the ultimate seasoning that gave taste to food. We're called to be a flavorful people. “You are the salt of the earth,” Jesus says to the crowds. A colleague who does not like salt says that he wishes Jesus had said, “You are the jalapeños of the earth,” and then he continues paraphrasing: “but if the chili has lost it’s zest, it’s like a bell pepper, good only for pizza.”

1. Salt of the earth (Matt. 5:13) has become proverbial for persons considered to be upstanding citizens who make contributions to the communities of which they are members. Salt is a metaphor for preservation, in the sense that Jesus' followers prevent society from degenerating into something worse than it already is. For example, Isaiah in Chapter 58, in our First Reading, says that God wants the people to share their food, clothing, and shelter with those who lack them. They had just returned from exile back to Jerusalem and they wanted the predicted restoration to happen. The prophet was saying that justice was needed first, then the restoration will go forward. God will honor a just society with the divine presence. There is a difference between kindness and doing justice. Kindness is giving Christmas presents to disadvantaged boys in working in coal mines. Doing justice is working to change the laws making it illegal for children to work in the coal mines in the first place.

2. Salt back then was often mixed with other minerals, it was not very pure. But, if one tries to wash the minerals away but ends up washing away salt, the salt could lose its taste if there more minerals left than actual salt. When that happened, it would be often thrown into street to keep the dust down.

To lose flavor means to align oneself with values and goals that are antithetical to the Kingdom of God and its ideals. Trampled underfoot means a falsification of discipleship and puts one under sentence of judgement. There are eternal ramifications. Bonhoeffer writes, salt is useless if just stops working. Insipid disciples are those who have ceased to have any meaningful influence for good on earth.

Reparation---Both the Fatima prayer and the prayer revealed to St. Faustina (which God subsequently instructed her to incorporate into the Divine Mercy Chaplet) are powerful prayers of reparation that are strikingly similar in structure. Both explicitly invoke the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, in order to make reparation and obtain mercy and conversion for souls. Both are also mystically connected to the Eucharistic presence of Jesus, angels, and the Most Holy Trinity.

3. Salt is the quality of our own personal integrity.

[got this joke from Sermoncenteral] A Peanuts cartoon, showed Peppermint Patty talking to Charlie Brown. She said,

"Guess what, Chuck.

The first day of school and I got sent to the principal's office. It was your fault, Chuck."

He said, "My fault? How could it be my fault? Why do you say everything is my fault?"


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