Pass the Salt please !

The phrase ‘Salt of the Earth‘ has always been close to my heart … it is in fact the name I have given to my blog  (which I have however sadly neglected.)

The Gospel reading of today in which we are called the ‘salt of the earth and the light of the world’ (Mathew 5.13-16) is a good time to reflect on the meaning of this phrase which is the theme of my blog so am sharing with you a reflection I had done for our Sunday liturgy sheet.

Did you know that the English word “salary” comes from the Latin word salariurn?  Sal = salt;   salarium = the salary paid to a Roman soldier to buy salt.  This is the origin of the phrase  “worth one’s salt”.

In ancient Israel, people gathered camel and donkey dung and formed it into ‘patties’ to be used for burning. (This is still a common practice in rural India and Pakistan.) The dung patties burned better when they were salted and placed on a block of salt in an earth oven. The salt acted as a catalyst.  Eventually the salt lost its catalytic ability to make the dung burn. The salt no longer good for anything was then discarded. This was the Mediterranean cultural imagery Jesus probably had in mind when he says: that it is possible for disciples to lose their saltiness, to become of no use—not fit even for the dung heap.

The ancients appreciated the value of salt for seasoning food (Job 6:6). All meat-offerings were seasoned with salt (Lev 2:13).

A “covenant of salt” was a covenant of perpetual obligation. (Num 18:19; ….it is a covenant of salt for ever before the LORD for you and for your offspring with you.”)

Salt was used not only as a food, but as an antiseptic in medicine. Newborn babes were bathed and salted (Eze 16:4), a custom still prevailing. The Arabs of the desert consider it so necessary, that in the absence of salt they bathe their infants in camels’ urine

To “eat salt” with one is to partake of his hospitality, to derive subsistence from him; and hence he who did so was bound to look after his host’s interests (Ezr 4:14 – and now because we eat the palace salt, it is not proper for us to see this affront offered to the king;)

Disciples are likened unto salt, with reference to its cleansing and preserving uses. (Mat 5:13). In Col 4:6 St Paul tells us “Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one”.  In Mark  9:50 we are told “Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.”

We often hear people say ‘pass the salt please! so they can add some flavour to their meal, bring out the goodness and taste of the food. But too much salt can ruin the food and our health.

We are the salt of the earth  … common but valuable,  simple but with more than 14,000 uses. We are called to be God’s instruments for changing the world.

If someone asks you to “pass the salt please”,  will there be any real, tasty (transforming)  salt in your shaker?

 

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… I’ve found in you, My endless love

undermarysmantledotorg endless love

I’ve found in you, My Endless Love.

Today is VALENTINES Day! What a fuss we make of the day. What celebrations! What a lot we spend trying to convince someone we love them!

Have we ever stopped to think what love is all about. Is it the love of a boy for a girl? a husband for a wife? a mother for her child? a teacher for the student? a pastor for his flock. There are so many kinds of love,

The Jesuit Philosopher and Theologian Pierre Teilhard de Chardin spoke of Love as the energy that moves the universe.

“Love alone can unite Living Beings so as to complete and fulfill them…..for it  alone joins them by what is deepest in themselves. All we need is our ability to love developing until it embraces the totality of men and the earth.”

“Driven by the forces of love the fragments of the world seek each other so that the world may come to being.”

 “Love is a sacred reserve of energy. It is like the blood of Spiritual evolution”.

 What about the one who loves us the most! Do we remember His Love? The Love of the Father to send the Son. The power and the love of the Incarnation; of God made man for our sake.  Let us this Valentines day embrace our one and only,  eternal and true love, let us find our endless love  ……and be lost in His love.

 …And this means but one thing, Lord; that through the whole width and breadth of the Real, through all its past and through all that it will become, through all that I undergo and all that I do, through all that I am bound by, through every  enterprise, through my whole life’s work, I can make my way to you, be one with you, and progress endlessly in that union. With a fullness no man has conceived you realized, through your incarnation, love’s threefold dream: to be so enveloped in the object of love as to be absorbed in it endlessly to intensify its presence and, without ever knowing surfeit, to be lost in it.

I pray that Christ’s influence, spiritually substantial, physically mortifying, may ever spread wider among all beings, and that thence it may pour down upon me and bring me life. I pray that this brief and limited contact with the sacramental species may introduce me to a universal and eternal communion with Christ, with his omnioperant will and his boundless mystical body.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin,

French Jesuit priest, philosopher, theologian and scientist.

Photo Credit:  https://undermarysmantle.org/endless-love/        – An inspiring site which you should visit.