A commonly known story (found in different versions) is told of a king who once asked his daughter how dear he was to her.
“As dear, as dear – as salt!” said the daughter, in all her innocence.
The king thought that this was very little and a “cheap” way of expressing her love to him.
>> And so, being unhappy, remained extremely disappointed with his daughter.
A few months, later, the King sponsored a great feast for the people of his land.
The daughter, made sure, that every dish that was brought to the King, remained unsalted
>> And thus nothing tasted good to the King.
It was then that the King realized his mistake!
The absence of the salt – which rendered the food tasteless – made him realize the value of salt…
… and the intelligence, in the answer of his daughter!
And thus, the King loved his daughter recognizing the importance of salt – and happy to being loved “As dear, as dear – as salt!”
The Gospel of the Day is the beautiful reminder by the Lord, to recognize the importance of “being the salt of the earth,” and to be on the guard, that our Christian lives don’t become tasteless or bland..
… by “not losing the saltiness!”
As Jesus proceeds with the Sermon on the Mount, He declares…
… “You are the salt of the earth” (Mt 5: 13)
It is fascinating to recognize the greatness of this statement of Jesus, in our present day context…
>> There are over six billion people in the world…
… spread over seven continents and around 195 countries…
>> There are people belonging to thousands of tribes, ethnicity, languages etc…
… and again hundreds of temperaments, personalities, outlooks and characters.
Among all these various people, the Lord – the Creator of the whole universe – declares to each one of us…
… Yes, YOU, His beloved creation, and the one whom He loves deeply:
>> “You are the salt of the earth”
Perhaps, this statement of the Lord may cause us surprise and trigger us to ask Him:
” You must be kidding, Lord!
>> I mean…. Look at the vast expanse of the world – millions of people in here, variety of languages, behaviors, temperaments, personalities…
… and amidst, all this, You expect, Me…
>> Me? To be the Salt of the Earth?!
We might even pose a question:
“Do you expect Me, a puny little thing, to really be the Salt to the Earth?
>> I am just a Nobody!”
But the Lord – who knows us through and through – would thunder back and tell us:
“Do not say, you are a nobody!
I am precise in calling You…!
>> You have been Baptized in Me, and you have My Spirit dwelling in You.
Long back, some of my servants also expressed their inability in a similar fashion…
But they were raised… by My Grace and their co-operation.
You too, have a responsibility towards Me and My Kingdom…
… and You will do much in doing little, when and as I wish!”
Perhaps, these magnanimous words of the Lord would overwhelm us..
… but still, filled with unworthiness, we may cry out, expressing our helplessness:
“But Lord, the challenge is just too great!
I do have some talents and capabilities, that You have bestowed on me.
>> But will those be enough?
I just feel that I am too small and insignificant, to be making a real difference in the world!”
This is where the Lord will remind us…
“Of course, I don’t deny that it is going to be easy for you to be the Salt of the Earth!
You will struggle…
… You will have to walk the hard path, as did even my Beloved Son on His Way of the Cross.”
The Lord will also remind us that “the salt that He spoke of”…
…was not the pure, refined type that is available today.
The salt of the olden days, when exposed to moisture, could easily become insipid.
>> It could become tasteless and useless… good only to be thrown and trampled down!
In the same way, we, as the ‘Salt of the Earth’, need to be highly careful.
>> If we expose ourselves, too much to the worldly and material affairs, we will lose your saltiness!
>> If we pollute ourselves by the many vain pleasures in the world, we will end up being ineffective!
And then we will be useless…only to be trampled upon! (Mt 5:13b)
Our life is like… as St Paul writes in the Second Letter to the Corinthians is a… ‘Treasure in Clay’! (2 Cor 4:7)
When preserved and careful utilized, we will remain precious
>> If not handled carefully, we will end up spoiling a wonderful fortune!
We are to be the Salt of the Earth…
… in which ever state of life we are
… to which ever vocation we are called to
… in which ever works or activities we engage in
We are to be the salt…
… that gives taste, to those who have lost meaning and hope in life
… that preserves the virtues of the Gospel and teachings of the Church in a world of decay
… that symbolizes purity even though the world around you plunges into immorality and sin
… that makes you part of the Sacrifice that is offered to God as described in the Law (Lev 2:13)
Yes, we need to remember, that we have a great calling.. to be the Salt…
… to give taste to the world… to preserve the Gospel values..to be a symbol of purity…to offer your life as a sacrifice.
>> We are indeed Precious!
Let us never let ourselves be diluted with the waters of worldly pleasures and thus become insipid!
Perhaps, like the King in the story, we sometimes, don’t recognize the importance of salt…
… the importance and immense responsibility in being “the salt of the earth”!
The Lord, today, reminds us:
“Your Christian vocation has to become dear to you….
… “As dear, as dear – as salt!”
Are we ready to be the ‘Salt of the Earth’…?”
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) –. “Fits of anger, vexation,and bitterness against ourselves…
… tend to pride.
>> And they spring from no other source than self-love…
… which is disturbed and upset at seeing that it is imperfect!”