In today’s Gospel (Mt 5:36-16) Jesus encourages us to be the salt of the earth. I was often puzzled by this analogy – how can I be salt? As I was reflecting on the passage during prayer this morning I had these thoughts (perhaps to you they will seem kind of far-fetched!).
Years ago my father had a stroke – a bad one – and the doctor put him on a salt-free diet. The rest of us in the family got used to eating many things without salt. However, for me, there were some exceptions – eggs! Spinach! I even like salt on cantaloupe! Salt gives food flavor.
Salt is healing. When I was younger and had a sore throat Mom would have me gargle with warm salt water. It worked! When I cry, my tears are salty! As you wipe them away taste them – they really are!
So, how did I put this all together? For many people today – our family, our friends - life is so challenging that it is hard to taste the many gifts, the many blessings God has given to us. For many, life is bland! But, as Jesus says, by our presence, by our love, by our faith in Him, we can bring goodness to others. And by doing so, we add flavor to our own lives.
Our presence, our prayers, our mercy and forgiveness, like salt, can be healing for others too. And by our tears we can share in the suffering of those we encounter in life. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
At Mass Father suggested we look to the Corporal and Spiritual Works of Mercy to know how to become “salt” for others. (See the Catechism of the Catholic Church, article 2447) In his message for Lent, Pope Francis says “The Lord asks us to be joyous heralds of (his) message of mercy and hope. It is thrilling to experience the joy of spreading this good news,” he writes.
All this said, every time you pick up a salt shaker remember that you ARE the salt of the earth, that you are called to be a herald of the Gospel. Pray that others will be salt for you too!