Living at the Crossroads of the World: Salt, Seed, Leaven and Light for the New World
All of these images concerning the spread of the kingdom are meant to bring home the new reality that comes from our discipleship
All of these images bring home the new reality that comes from our discipleship. In the words of St. Jose Maria Escriva, "May Our Lord be able to use us so that, placed as we are at all the cross-roads of the world - and at the same time placed in God - we become salt, leaven and light. Yes, you are to be in God, to enlighten, to give flavor, to produce growth and new life. But don't forget that we are not the source of this light: we only reflect it." (St. Jose Maria Escriva, Friends of God, 250)
CHESAPEAKE, VA. (Catholic Online) - On the 15th Sunday in Ordinary time I proclaimed the marvelous parable of the sower and the seed at Holy Mass (Matt. 13: 1-23) The last part contains the section where Jesus opens up the parable upon inquiry by His disciples in these words:
"Hear then the parable of the sower. The seed sown on the path is the one who hears the word of the kingdom without understanding it, and the evil one comes and steals away what was sown in his heart. The seed sown on rocky ground is the one who hears the word and receives it at once with joy. But he has no root and lasts only for a time. When some tribulation or persecution comes because of the word, he immediately falls away. The seed sown among thorns is the one who hears the word, but then worldly anxiety and the lure of riches choke the word and it bears no fruit. But the seed sown on rich soil is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and yields a hundred or sixty or thirtyfold."
The parable has been the source of inspiration of some of the richest reflections on the dynamic power of God's word in the Sacred Tradition. Clearly, we are both the soil and the seed. That Word, the Living Word, is sown within us and we must cultivate the ground of our "hearts", the center of our very identity, so that we can be transformed in the Lord and more fully and completely reflect His Image and likeness.
However, there is the other aspect of the parable, the missionary response, which can best be seen within the context of other parables from the Master. We ourselves become seed, in His Holy Hands, being spread into the world. It is that world, which he created, that needs to be re-created again in and through Him. We are seeds of the Kingdom. The other imagery used for this dynamic and missionary insight found within our text is also contained in Matthews Gospel:
"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." (Matt. 5: 13 - 16) The passage calls to mind the words of the Lord, "I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12)
We have been baptized into Christ who now lives His life in us - and we live our lives in Him. This becomes reality by living in His Body, the Church, for the sake of the world. The Father still loves the world and gives His Son to save it. (John 3: 16) Now, that gift continues through you and me. In Matthews Gospel Jesus uses more images to further communicate this message to us:
"The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed that a person took and sowed in a field. It is the smallest of all the seeds, yet when full-grown it is the largest of plants. It becomes a large bush, and the 'birds of the sky come and dwell in its branches.The kingdom of heaven is like yeast that a woman took and mixed with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch was leavened." (Matt. 13: 31 - 33) We are light and leaven, salt and seed, in a world waiting to be born.
All of these images concerning the spread of the kingdom are meant to bring home the new reality that comes from our discipleship. In the words of St. Jose Maria Escriva, "May Our Lord be able to use us so that, placed as we are at all the cross-roads of the world - and at the same time placed in God - we become salt, leaven and light. Yes, you are to be in God, to enlighten, to give flavor, to produce growth and new life. But don't forget that we are not the source of this light: we only reflect it. (St. Jose Maria Escriva, Friends of God, 250)
As Christians we are called to love the world as God loves the world. Because we live in Jesus Christ, He continues His redemptive mission in and through us! God created us for Himself. He made us in His image and likeness (Genesis 1:27). He placed us within this created world with a purpose. God so loved the world he sent His only Son into it to save it! (John 3:16).
Jesus now walks in that world through His Body, the Church, which is the new world, re-created in Christ. Understanding and living this reality is supposed to change the way we view our human existence. We live our daily lives now in the Lord. In a very real sense, we actually live in the Church and go into the world. One of the titles that the Fathers of the Second Vatican Council ascribed to the Church (found in early patristic literature) is the "the world reconciled." That same ...
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