When Jesus makes the statements, “I am…, or “You are…” in scripture, I believe that merits extra attention on our part. What follows those statements should encourage deep reflection on his identity and ours. He states, “I am the way, the truth and the life…the vine… and the good shepherd,” to name a few.
In this weekend’s Gospel from Matthew he says to the disciples, and to us,” You are the salt of the earth and you are the light of the world.” If we truly embrace our identity as disciples, we will not only listen to his commission, but carry it out. How can we be the salt that gives the world flavor and how can we be the light that shines to give God glory?
As humanity has responded to his statements about who we are through the centuries, it seems to me that the light has gotten more attention than the salt. There seem to be more analogies of faith as light than there are ones about salt. It reminds me that Jesus chose two elements to identify himself with at the last supper in order to give us the eternal gift of his presence—Bread and Wine. Bread seems to be much more popular than wine as a vehicle for revelation of his real presence. In fact, one of his identity statements is, “I am the Bread of Life.” Recall that for centuries priests were the only ones to consume the wine changed to the Blood of Christ during Mass.
So perhaps we need a bit of reflection on the encouragement of Jesus to see ourselves as salt.
Salt gives flavor. Flavor can mean uniqueness. Every one of us is created differently by our God. We are all unique individuals. There never has been and never will be anyone EXACTLY like you or me. The encouragement to see ourselves as salt is not merely to recognize our uniqueness, but not to let it be trampled by others along the road. In our Mass of Rock this weekend I will use the Beatles (Lennon and McCartney) song “The Long and Winding Road” to illustrate the length and complexity of challenges that we may have in keeping our flavorful uniqueness along the road that leads to God’s door.
Dr. Peg Hanrahan, our Director of Family & Teen Faith, led our All Staff meeting this past week by showing a presentation by Timothy Radcliffe, a Dominican priest. In it, Radcliffe says many things brilliantly. A couple of his quotes illustrate what I am talking about. He says, “Saints refuse to follow the crowd. They take risks to be truly beloved by God as they are,” and ”Only by being the unique person that God calls us to be can we be truly happy,” and ”A true community lets you be an individual.”
Don’t lose your flavor. Don’t let your uniqueness get trampled and thrown out. God created you to give flavor to the world. Be your unique, flavorful self, amidst the long and winding road that leads to God’s door.
This weekend we will hear a message from Cardinal Cupich and have an opportunity to support the
Annual Catholic Appeal. Your financial gift to the Appeal helps support:
• Parishes and Catholic Schools serving financially challenged communities
• Parish rebates back to Holy Family if we exceed our goal of $170,000
OUR ARCHDIOCESAN MINISTRIES
• Evangelization efforts to help spread our faith through Youth Ministries, Parish Vitality Initiatives and Liturgy enhancement
• Religious Education for youth, young adults, campus ministry and adult formation
• Continuing Education for priests, staff, and lay ministers and volunteers serving in parishes
• Human Dignity and Solidarity Efforts that promote respect for life at all stages, peace and justice, support for immigrants and Kolbe House prison ministry
• Catholic Relief Services to assist the poor and vulnerable and those suffering from natural disasters around the world
No money donated to the Annual Catholic Appeal has been or will be used to defray expenses related to misconduct issues.