Kindly Pass The Salt
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time (A)
Scriptural Readings: Isaiah 58:7-10; Psalm 112:4-5, 6-7, 8-9; 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 Matthew 5:13-16
My dear encountered couples:
As you well know, Jesus is not merely speaking of table salt and lamp light. He is speaking of something that must come forth from us and be noticed and experienced by others. For the person who is a genuine Christian, this will automatically take place. Others will notice something special, become more enlightened in truth and drawn to the Source of all that is good - God.
Also, as you know, salt has several built-in capabilities. It reserves food from spoiling, adds taste, it melts ice and snow. Maybe you can think of others. These capabilities are of the very essence and core of the salt. They are within. Once it loses these capabilities, once the salt goes flat, the good cannot be put back into it from the outside. Maybe science has come up with some way of doing this. I don't know. But in Jesus' time it was impossible to restore its value. It was of no use but "to be thrown out and trampled underfoot."
As for light, it is not all that evident. But the ability to burn is within that which is burning and giving light. When the material inside reaches a certain temperature, the thing burns, flames, and gives off light. There may be some things that just disintegrate without giving noticeable flaming and light - but you know what I mean. The quality of burning and giving light is within, not outside of the article.
Similarly, as the qualities of salt and light are to be found within and are not to be forced from without, people have to be holy within and throughout their very beings in order to effect good in others. Pretending to be holy, frantically running around and trying to do the “work” of God - without God - produces nothing of lasting value.
Many of us so-called Christians, however sincere, can be found leading pagan-type lives without realizing it. There are those of us who take our Faith, Church, and religion for granted in such a way that we deny ourselves any value contained in them. In other words, we are shells without Christ-like qualities. We go through the motions of religious practices without our hearts really in what we are doing - and therefore without them influencing ourselves deep within. God never finds a home in us.
There are other Christians who do not take religion for granted, but who are in such a hurry scurrying around and trying to convert the world that they forget about seeking God's will and carry out only their own. They are experienced by others as fanatics and do more good for the powers of hell than of heaven. They are like children who have learned how to add and then try to teach nuclear physics to others. They are way out of their field.
Then there are those Christians who know that first they must seek the Kingdom of God and all the rest is theirs. These people realize that through humility and prayer God comes and lives in them. And from Him comes the ability to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world.
A person does not need to be gifted in the knowledge of the world, a person does not need to be of high I.Q. nor endowed with all sorts of abilities. But everyone and anyone who is able to admit that all they do possess has been given them by God, then reach out for God to do whatever he wishes, those people become dwellings of God, become essentially united with God, and radiate from within the goodness of which Jesus is speaking. They are the ones who truly live as on a lampstand, lighting the way to live for others to see and follow.
Every day seek God and reach out for Him. Become more conscious of the presence of God, of God the Father, of Jesus, of the Holy Spirit. They are invisible but they are with you. Air and the oxygen in it that you breathe are invisible to you too, but you know they are with you. You say, “But I can see the air and oxygen by laboratory means.” Well, I say, “You can see God by the means of the eyes of faith.”
Put yourself for a moment in the place of God. He is Spirit. Spirits are invisible to the human eye. Now pretend you are God. You want to do something for people. They can't see you. So you create trees and dogs and sunsets and all the other things that people can see and experience. You create them to be of such quality that in getting to know them, people can get to know you. Remember you're pretending to be God. In nature, in animals, in people you, being God, have put various likenesses of yourself so that all the people in seeing these things and getting to know them can learn all sorts of things about you.
Your goodness is evident in all you have created. You, God, are present to the world in many forms and qualities. All that people have to do is open their eyes or ears, or they can smell, touch, or taste things and find you, God, in them - and get to know you through them. But because people are rather slow in learning, they get very unusual ideas of you, certainly far from the complete truth. So you, God, decide to become one of them, decide to become a human being, go by the name of Jesus and show people what you are really like. What happens? A few like you; many ignore you; others murder you. And so, you, God, become invisible again except through the things of creation.
Fortunately, some of your words and parts of your life as a human were written down and preserved for people who really want to know the true answers to the meanings of life. Meanwhile, you still stay with everyone, for you as God can be anywhere and everywhere you please. And since you love people so much, it pleases you to be right with each person.
But again you are back to the difficulty of getting them aware of your presence and love. Wouldn't you just want to tap them on the shoulder and say, “Hey, here I am. Don't be afraid. Stop worrying. I'm always with you. And if you let me come inside you and tell you my plan, maybe we can work together to bring some happiness into this world.”
Wouldn't you be thrilled then if you, being God, heard the person respond, “Sure, God, come on in. I don't know what I'm doing half the time anyhow. I need you. Just let me know what your plans are and where I fit in. Then let's give some zest and taste to people’s lives. Let's live and work together, God, and light up everyone's life.”