Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Feb 9, 2020 | Gospel Reflections

5th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Matthew 5:13-16
Sunday Gospel Reflection
by Sister Eileen Burns

Matthew shares that Jesus says, “You are the salt of the earth. But, 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.”

A few months ago, I was reading something about salt and this passage came to mind. Before there were antibiotics, there was salt. Before there was refrigeration to preserve foods, there was salt.

“Chronically inflamed skin is treated with medical bath salt from the Dead Sea or table salt.”

“Salt has antibacterial and antiseptic properties allowing healing to take place. It also helps improve circulation. Your skin will not wrinkle in a salted bath because the salt allows the skin to hold hydration.”

“The essential minerals in salt act as important electrolytes in the body. They help with fluid balance, nerve transmission and muscle function. Some amount of salt is naturally found in most foods. It’s also frequently added to foods in order to improve flavor.”

“Due to its antibacterial properties salt has long been used as a preservative. Salt kills some types of bacteria, effectively by sucking water out of them. In a process known as osmosis, water passes out of a bacterium to balance salt concentrations on each side of its cell membrane.”

Of course, salt can be detrimental as well if you have high blood pressure!

Salt was very popular in the Roman Empire and early Roman Republic. The Roman Legions sometimes also used salt as currency. Due to the high value of salt, an ancient Roman proverb said that people who did their job well were “worth their salt.” (Or “worth their weight in salt.”) Isn’t that something? Salt used instead of cash or coins!

You and I are salt. We have the power through our Spirit lead choices to embrace healing, balance and to preserve from decay. We are precious, worthwhile and valuable. How does the “salt” in us embrace and preserve wholeness physically, emotionally, spiritually, intellectually both as individuals as communities? We must promote these values in our systems.

Jesus also reminds us of the salt that is “thrown out and trampled underfoot.” That makes me smile as I live in the northeast of the United States and it is winter in this hemisphere. We often scatter salt outdoors as an ice melt to prevent slips and falls. Even if salt is judged as being no longer good salt, it still has a purpose!
So, be salt! Your life, our world, our Jesus needs our saltiness!

Matthew 5:13-16

Jesus said to his disciples:

“You are the salt of the earth. But 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. 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. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.”

The Gospel of the Lord