WORD MADE FLESH
Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time – February 9, 2014
Isaiah 58.6-10 | Psalm 112 | 1 Corinthians 2.1-5 | Matthew 5.13-16
February 3, 2014
Salt is a peculiar type of seasoning. It is invisible when dissolved yet essential for taste. We miss it even if we cannot see it.
I know many people who are "the salt of the earth" and they all tend to be, like salt, invisible but indispensable. I will mention but a few, although there are many, many more of them. They keep our Church alive.
Who are they?
'You are the salt of the earth.'
Three women in Lloydminster who go to Mass daily and meet every evening to pray for the priests, the sick and the downtrodden. They watch over the foreign priests who come to our archdiocese and help them adjust to our Canadian ways.
A group of women and men in my parish who cook and bake in the church basement every Saturday of the year and then sell these goodies after Sunday Masses. All of proceeds go to missions all over the world. They literally feed the hungry – and do it twice. I have never met more cheerful people.
A quiet priest, who never says "no" to a request for Confession or advice, or "just a talk," no matter how untimely and no matter if the person he is approached by is a homeless, mentally handicapped man, or a well-known politician, or a successful businessman. You see this priest in his church often; somehow, he seems to treat it as his home rather than a place of work. He kneels at the very back, almost invisible.
Parents of a seminarian, both immigrants, both in poor health and not young any longer, ready for retirement – yet working very hard to pay for their son's holy education, always ready to support him in his vocation, always full of joy, hospitable to a fault. They never seem to let go of the rosary.
An aging mother of two adults who "have issues with God" and are no longer practising Catholics. She comes to daily Mass and begs God's mercy for them – and is full of hope, no matter what life throws at her. She supports every good cause – be it a collection for a new tabernacle, flowers for altars, clothing or food for the needy. A cheerful giver.
Can salt lose its taste and properties? Yes, it can.
The ladies in Lloydminster can start watching Netflix in the evening and let foreign priests struggle through our snowy winters on their own.
The helpers of missions can go to yoga classes on Saturdays, instead of baking and cooking in a stuffy basement kitchen.
The priest can become a clerk instead of a pastor and demand that petitioners book appointments for Confession – weeks ahead. That will give him more free time. He can then get himself a bigger plasma TV.
Parents of the seminarian can withdraw their support and let him struggle with his tuition and vocation all on his own. Who knows? Maybe he will turn around and become, say, an engineer? And a rosary looks so nice as a decoration on the wall.
The mother of fallen-away Catholics can accept their path away from the Church and maybe sleep in a bit instead of going to church before work – or go to the movies in the evening.
But if salt loses its taste, says Jesus, it is no longer good for anything.
Are we – you and I – the salt of the earth?
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