Monday, June 11, 2012

Salt of the Earth

Elijah is a man preaching to a woman outside the bounds of Israel. He does not know the God of Israel, but Elija proclaims the message to her, and she believes. She places her faith in this unknown God and she receives the bread which sustains her on her way. After being baptized, we put our faith in God, and He brings for us the bread which sustains us on our way.

But God sustains us because He has a particular plan for us. My brothers and sisters, we are called by the Most High God to be the salt of the earth. This salt is love. It is love which preserves the world and gives it eternal life. Do you love your neighbors? Then do not be satisfied to meet their physical needs, but give them eternal life by bringing them to a deeper relationship with Jesus Christ. Pray to God for their conversion, but also witness to them directly. They cannot believe in Him whom they have not heard. No one will believe in Jesus Christ unless someone first preaches to them.

Salt destroys and kills bacteria and diseases of all sorts. It sucks the water out of these vile creatures causing them to shrink up and die. Because of this, salt is a food preservative. It keeps meet from spoiling. We are called to be the salt of the earth. We are called to destroy the works of Satan in this world, beginning with our own lives. We need to remove the anger, impatience, lust, and especially pride from our lives. All too often, in our pride, we're too embarrassed to bring someone to Christ. We're afraid that people won't like us if we tell them about the wonders of chastity or of generous giving to the poor. We cling to the opinions of others and forget God's opinion of us. However, if we are failing to make Jesus and his way of life known and loved, we are losing our own saltiness. We are losing the love which brings us and others to eternal life, and "if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot."

As Christians, "You are the salt of the earth." St. John Chrysostom says that this is "Not for your own salvation merely, or for a single nation, but for the whole world is this doctrine committed to you." The world needs you to be a saint. Nothing more, nothing less. It needs you to surrender yourself entirely to the God who loves you and is always providing for you. Put this way, it sounds so simply doesn't it? You just need to trust the Lord for whom nothing is impossible. Yet, I know personally, that there are a thousand excuses not to carry through on our good intentions. Hundreds of times, I've failed to do what was right and just.

Thankfully, we have no reason to despair. Call out to our Lord, "Have pity on me, and hear my prayer!" In the time of Elijah, the land was filled with drought. It could produce no good fruit, just like our souls can sometimes produce no good fruit. Elijah was thirsty and hungry, so he asked a non-Jewish woman for a cup of water. This brings to my mind the story of another man who sat by a well, and asked a non-Jewish woman for a drink. This man, Jesus, promised her that if she asked, He would give her living water, and everyone who drinks this water will never thirst. If you are a man who hungers and thirsts for righteousness, who desires to be the salt of the earth, then thirst for the Holy Spirit, the water which wells up to eternal life.

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