Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Deacon Keith Fournier

6/11/2014 (4 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

We are invited to become salty Christians who bring the flavor of God's Love and Life into a world which has lost its flavor and gone flat. We also help to prevent the further decay. The power to effect redemptive change in the world comes from the life of God within us.

There is the world that God created and looked upon and said - it is good. (See e.g. Genesis, chapter 1). That world is still good. It is filled with beauty and reflects the Divine artist and architect who made it. That world He entrusted to the crown of his creation - man and woman. Then there is a system which has squeezed God out of His rightful place and substituted idols. That system is also called the world in the bible. (See, e.g. James 4:4). We are not to love that world, in the sense of giving ourselves over to its dominion. We are to reject that system in order to free those enchained by its lies. The Father wants to bring the entire human race back into a relationship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Those who live in Jesus Christ are sent on mission into the world in order to bring all men and women into the new world of the Church.

We are invited to help to bring the world back to the God who created it - and is re-creating it in and through His Son Jesus Christ. This mindset has inspired great missionary ages in the past and brought extraordinary changes to entire cultures. It can once again! However, it begins one person, one grain, at a time.

We are invited to help to bring the world back to the God who created it - and is re-creating it in and through His Son Jesus Christ. This mindset has inspired great missionary ages in the past and brought extraordinary changes to entire cultures. It can once again! However, it begins one person, one grain, at a time.

Highlights

By Deacon Keith Fournier

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

6/11/2014 (4 months ago)

Published in Daily Homilies

Keywords: salt, seed, leaven, holiness, discipleship, holiness, prayer, salt of the earth, city on a hill, Deacon Keith Fournier


CHESAPEAKE, VA (Catholic Online) - Our Gospel is from the account of St. Matthew. It follows the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus is instructing the disciples on a new way of life: 

"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)

We are called to bring the light into a world steeped in darkness. We are invited to be salt, in an age which has lost its flavor.  Jesus used salt in his parables because salt was used in multiple ways which are not as common in our own experience. Salt was used to preserve and purify food as well as to flavor and to cure it. His hearers knew this. 

In Marks Gospel (Mk. 9: 41 -50), the passage on being salt follows after Jesus admonished the disciples about avoiding temptations to sin. Mark has this additional line from Jesus: "Everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good, but if salt becomes insipid, with what will you restore its flavor? Keep salt in yourselves and you will have peace with one another."

What did Jesus mean when He said we will be salted with fire?  The Jerome Biblical Commentary, reflecting on the passage, notes, "Salt and fire suggest the purification the disciples will undergo through persecution and suffering."

The Venerable Bede suggested a further insight, "Everyone will be salted with fire, says Jesus, because spiritual wisdom must purify all the elect of any kind of corruption through carnal desire. Or he may be speaking of the fire of tribulation, which exercises the patience of the faithful to enable them to reach perfection"

Each of us is called to holiness. In an age which has rejected God and His Ways, we are invited to live differently. We are given the grace we need to do so. We must choose to say yes to both. This choice and way of life will offend some seduced by self worship. Because of that, we will be salted with fire, we will face struggle as we seek to live the Gospel. That kind of struggle comes from the outside.

However, there is another kind of struggle. It takes place on the inside. We struggle within as we seek to cooperate with grace and thereby grow in holiness. There is an internal resistance to the transforming work of God's grace. We deal with what the Catholic Tradition calls concupiscence.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains:

"St. John distinguishes three kinds of covetousness or concupiscence: lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride of life. (1 John 2:16) In the Catholic catechetical tradition, the ninth commandment forbids carnal concupiscence; the tenth forbids coveting another's goods."

Etymologically, "concupiscence" can refer to any intense form of human desire. Christian theology has given it a particular meaning: the movement of the sensitive appetite contrary to the operation of the human reason.

The apostle St. Paul identifies it with the rebellion of the "flesh" against the "spirit." (Cf. Gal 5:16,17,24; Eph 2:3) Concupiscence stems from the disobedience of the first sin. It unsettles man's moral faculties and, without being in itself an offense, inclines man to commit sins."
(CCC #2514, 2515)
 
In a compilation of his homilies entitled Friends of God, St. Jose Maria Escriva prays:

"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)

The Father still loves the world. (John 3: 16)  He continues to send His Son into the world to save it. Jesus now walks into the world through His Body, the Church, of which we are members. As Christians we are called to love the world as God loves the world. One of the titles that the Fathers of the Church used to describe the Church was - the world reconciled. The Second Vatican Council used this phrase and reaffirmed another Patristic Image of the Church, as a seed of the kingdom.

Some of the confusion concerning our relationship to the world arises from the remnant of one of the early heresies in Christian history called Manichaeism. The followers of that error believed that matter was evil. That is NOT a Christian belief. We profess in our Creed a belief in a bodily resurrection and the coming of a new heaven and new earth! 

Yet this error of viewing matter as evil - and the world, by extension, as a place to be avoided - still infects. It can lead to a kind ghetto mentality whereby Christians withdraw from the world. Some of the confusion arises out of the differing ways the phrase - the world - is used in the New Testament. Let me explain.

There is the world that God created and looked upon and said - it is good. (See e.g. Genesis, chapter 1). That world is still good. It is filled with beauty and reflects the Divine artist and architect who made it. That world He entrusted to the crown of his creation - man and woman. 

Then there is a system which has squeezed God out of His rightful place and substituted idols. That system is also called the world in the bible. (See, e.g. James 4:4). We are not to love that world, in the sense of giving ourselves over to its dominion. We are to reject that system in order to free those enchained by its lies.

The Father wants to bring the entire human race back into a relationship with Him through His Son Jesus Christ, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Those who live in Jesus Christ are sent on mission into the world in order to bring all men and women into the new world of the Church.

We are invited to become salty Christians who bring the flavor of God's Love and Life into a world which has lost its flavor and gone flat. We also help to prevent the further decay. The power to effect redemptive change in the world comes from the life of God within us.

Along with the metaphor of salt, Jesus also used leaven or yeast in His parables. For example, "Again he said, "To what shall I compare the Kingdom of God? It is like yeast that a woman took and mixed in with three measures of wheat flour until the whole batch of dough was leavened." (Luke 13: 18 - 21)

It is amazing how little leaven it takes to raise a loaf of bread. That is because within those little particles of yeast is found the power to ferment, to change the lump of wet dough into a loaf of aromatic, tasty, nourishing bread. However, the power contained within that yeast is not activated unless it is mixed and kneaded into the dough.

Once you work the leaven in, it is still hidden to the eye but how it transforms that loaf! So it is with Christians within human culture! The power within us is the very same power that raised Jesus from the dead (See Romans 8:11)! All we are asked to do is to mix it up. We have to get in the loaf. We must be in the world - where Jesus is - in order to be used to accomplish His ongoing work of redemption.

Leaven that is not used in time spoils and loses its capacity to ferment that dough; it must be active or it becomes useless. Salt also can become useless. That leaven must be in the dough to effect its extraordinary change. That salt must be sprinkled.  We must be in the world to effect its transformation.

We are invited to help to bring the world back to the God who created it - and is re-creating it in and through His Son Jesus Christ. This mindset has inspired great missionary ages in the past and brought extraordinary changes to entire cultures. It can once again! However, it begins one person, one grain, at a time.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for October 2014
Peace:
That the Lord may grant peace to those parts of the world most battered by war and violence.
World Mission Day: That World Mission Day may rekindle in every believer zeal for carrying the Gospel into all the world.



Comments


More Daily Homilies

Thursday, October 30 - Homily: Mustard Seeds and Yeast Watch

Image of Fr. Joachim on the symbolism of yeast and mustard seeds as used in the Gospel by Our Lord to explain the gradual process by which the kingdom of God grows whether within the individual soul or society at large.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fr. Joachim on the symbolism of yeast and mustard seeds as used in the Gospel by Our Lord to explain the gradual process by which the kingdom of God grows whether within the individual soul or society at large. continue reading


Wednesday, October 29 - Homily: Enter Through the Narrow Gate Watch

Image of Strive to enter through the narrow gate as many are on the wide road to perdition.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Strive to enter through the narrow gate as many are on the wide road to perdition. continue reading


Monday, October 27 - Homily: Humility in Truth Watch

Image of Fr. Elias on the need for humility that must be based on the truth that we do all our accomplishments through the power of God. We need to cooperate with God's grace with our own effort and as we do He gives us more grace to do greater things but it is always through His freely given graces.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fr. Elias on the need for humility that must be based on the truth that we do all our accomplishments through the power of God. We need to cooperate with God's grace with our own effort and as we do He gives us more grace to do greater things but it is always ... continue reading


Friday, October 24 - Homily: The Great Sacrifice of Mass

Image of Fr. Elias on the large number of Catholics who do not go to Church and how this is a result of people not appreciating the importance of Mass

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fr. Elias on the large number of Catholics who do not go to Church and how this is a result of people not appreciating the importance of Mass as the unbloody re-presentation of Calvary, the great sacrifice of the Son of God for the removal of our sins, which ... continue reading


Thursday, October 23 - Homily: How to Die in Peace and Joy Watch

Image of Fr. Ignatius explains that we must be ready for death at any moment by living a life of virtue, in imitation of the saints who looked forward to the end of their lives in profound peace and heavenly joy.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fr. Ignatius explains that we must be ready for death at any moment by living a life of virtue, in imitation of the saints who looked forward to the end of their lives in profound peace and heavenly joy. continue reading


Wednesday, October 22 - Homily: St. Peter of Alcantara, Penitent Watch

Image of Fr. Elias on the life of St. Peter of Alcantara, a Franciscan, who lived a life of extraordinary penance.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fr. Elias on the life of St. Peter of Alcantara, a Franciscan, who lived a life of extraordinary penance.  He contrasts this spirit of penance for the love of God with the modern materialism which is based on love of self. continue reading


Tuesday, October 21 - Homily: Fighting Hate with Grace Watch

Image of Fr. Joachim on the life of Bl. Josephine Leroux, virgin and martyr during the French Revolution. She was condemned to death for the horrible crime of being a Poor Claire nun. Listen how in contrast to the radical hate of the atheists, she returned kindness and graciousness.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Fr. Joachim on the life of Bl. Josephine Leroux, virgin and martyr during the French Revolution. She was condemned to death for the horrible crime of being a Poor Claire nun. Listen how in contrast to the radical hate of the atheists, she returned kindness and ... continue reading


Monday, October 20 - Homily: From Death to Life Watch

Image of Through the riches of God's mercy, we have passed from death (mortal sin) to life (sanctifying grace).

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Through the riches of God's mercy, we have passed from death (mortal sin) to life (sanctifying grace). continue reading


Thursday, October 16 - Homily: St. Margaret Mary Alacoque Watch

Image of May she teach us, and obtain for us the grace, to love the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus as we ought, as He deserves, and as He desires.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

May she teach us, and obtain for us the grace, to love the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus as we ought, as He deserves, and as He desires. continue reading


Wednesday, October 15 - Homily: St. Teresa of Avila Watch

Image of St. Teresa, Doctor of the Church, teaches us to pray and hope.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

St. Teresa, Doctor of the Church, teaches us to pray and hope. continue reading


All Daily Homilies News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Ephesians 6:10-20
10 Finally, grow strong in the Lord, with the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 144:1, 2, 9-10
1 [Of David] Blessed be Yahweh, my rock, who trains ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 13:31-35
31 Just at this time some Pharisees came up. 'Go ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for October 30th, 2014 Image

St. Alphonsus Rodriguez
October 30: Confessor and Jay brother, also called Alonso. He was born in ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter