10th Week OT (T)
Fr. Philip Neri Powell, OP
St. Dominic Priory, NOLA
How does salt lose its power to season and preserve? It can grow stale with age, through lack of use. It can be diluted, dissolved into a stronger, more aggressive flavor. And salt left too long in the elements is really only good for making icy roads passable. Jesus tells the apostles that they are the salt of the earth, those sent to season the nations and preserve the Gospel. As preachers of that same Gospel, we too are called to be the salt of the earth. Are we awake to the possibility of losing our power to season and preserve? That it's possible our salty witness can be diluted by the more aggressive flavors of this world? That it's possible our commitment to the Truth can be dissolved into the corruption of sentimentalism and tribalism? If we are left too long exposed to the elements of this world – prideful self-assertion, violence, fear, hypocrisy, hatred, false humility – we can lose what power we have to offer the flavor and preserving graces of Christ. If our salt looks and tastes like everyone else's sugar, cinnamon, or sage, then – to mix a metaphor – we've hidden our light under a bushel basket. As Dominican preachers we have an 800+ year old tradition of calling on the seasoning and preserving powers of both faith and reason, a centuries-long legacy of bearing witness to the truth, goodness, and beauty of seeing and knowing God through both the heart and the mind, the intellect and the will. Jesus suggests that only salt can preserve salt. Thanks be to God then we have a vast treasure trove of Dominican salt to draw from. So, as the world around us seems to swirl the cosmic toilet bowl once again, do we have the patience, courage, and fortitude to mine these treasures?
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