Skip to main content

The Divine Flavor of Holiness


“If salt isn’t salty, it's pointless.” ~ Jeremy Gove

“You are the salt of the earth,” Jesus tells his disciples in today’s Gospel (Matthew 5:13-16). “But,” he goes in to explain to them, “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.”

Expanding upon what the faithful have come to call the Salt and Light discourse, Jesus goes on to say to those in his midst “You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket; it is set on a lampstand,
where it gives light to all in the house.

We’ve reflected on Mark’s version of this Gospel before, a passage which places a premium on the pursuit of wisdom as a means by which God’s people can help to bring salvation into the world.
There is a tendency nowadays to privatize religion, particularly in a culture that has come to so cherish this idea of isolation. To engage in a sort of spiritual isolationism for lack of a better term. Quiet time in prayer and meditation is of course vital and highly endorsed, but religion is in fact very much like salt and light, not meant to be kept for one’s self but instead to be shared.

In his morning meditation, Bishop Robert Barron challenges his readers to view their spiritual maturation through the lens of bringing Jesus’ salvific message to others. “Perhaps,” he says, “we find salvation for ourselves precisely in the measure that we bring God’s life to others. The point is that we followers of Jesus are meant to be salt, which effectively preserves and enhances what is best in the society around us. We effectively undermine what is dysfunctional in the surrounding culture.”

“We are also light,” he goes on to say, “by which people around us come to see what is worth seeing. By the very quality and integrity of our lives, we shed light, illuminating what is beautiful and revealing what is ugly.” Bishop Barron concludes that without vibrant Christians acting out their faith, our world is in peril, a darker and drearier place.

The Christian life, when you boil it down, is a call not only to personal holiness but a call to show others how to do the same. Not tell them mind you, show them. Salt is a spice that is sprinkled carefully so as to enhance a dish. It is not poured recklessly out upon every forkful. Too much salt can ruin an otherwise very tasty dish. We must rely on the Holy Spirit to act as our “divine salt shaker” if you will. As Jesus has said time and time again throughout Scripture, we need not worry about what we are to say. The Spirit will give us the right words precisely when the right words are needed. And certainly in proper proportion.

Each of us have something unique and valuable to offer the world. Saint Teresa of Calcutta was always quick to remind us that not all of us are called to do great things, yet we can all do little things with great love. So let us reflect upon the closing words of today’s Gospel (Matthew 5:16) and pray that our light will in fact shine before others that they may see our good deeds as we seek to always glorify our Heavenly Father.

Scroll to Continue

”God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God in him.” ~ 1 John 4:16

Related Articles