sexta-feira, 24 de março de 2017


Salt is good,
but if it loses its saltiness,
how can you make it salty again?
Have salt among yourselves,
and be at peace with each other.”
Mark 9:50 (read 9:38-40, 50) - NIV

The disciples wanted to prohibit people who were not of their group from acting in the name of Jesus. They appointed themselves as judges, believing that they were the exclusive instruments of God. Once again, Jesus had to call their attention. Their mission was to be neither judges nor saviors, but to act as salt and seasoning the world.

Acting as judges and saviors creates problems. Our judgments are limited and imperfect. We may wrongly condemn that which is good because it appears to be evil to us and embrace evil that masquerades as righteousness.

Acting as saviors is equally dangerous. Those who try to establish Heaven-on-Earth always end up administrating a self-created Hell-on-Earth. The good we do can have negative side effects and be harmful to others. Our actions, even when motivated by the best intentions, can be harmful to other people who are also well-intentioned.

Traditionally, we interpret "sin" as harmful habits of private life such as smoking, drinking, cursing and going against social conventions. Jesus went beyond the realm of only a pious personal life.

The nature of the salt implies a life of positive participation in society! Salt is useful only insofar as it penetrates the ingredients and transmits its flavor. Acting as salt is essential to the life of faith. Salt is useless while staying within the salt shaker. Its usefulness consists in leaving the salt shaker and getting lost in the ingredients. Also, it never returns to the salt shaker.

Real sin is to omit a compassionate life within the society of the world in which we live. Jesus also used the figure of giving a cup of water in his name. For us that means little. Water is abundant and gushes from any tap. But water in that arid land represented sacrifice and generosity, because water was a rare gem and difficult to access. Each drop was precious. Hosing down the sidewalk? Filling the bathtub? No way!!!

We live in a world that lacks "salt". Jesus related salt to peace. The lack of "salt" drives the world to violence. Living as salt is to live peace. Our mission is to be salt in the world. The greatest sin is to try to keep our identity as "salt" by staying inside the salt shaker. The true identity of the salt is to lose its identity as a separate entity from the world and to give flavor to it, without appearing.

The Christian who seeks to preserve her/his Christian identity by isolation from the world is sinning against the weak and needy. Churches who strive to preserve their identity such as Catholic, Protestant, charismatic, conservative, liberal, etc. are promoting divisions in a world already full of barriers, where there are millions of victims of violence of all kinds. With our presence as salt, many who are on a losing track could be strengthened to a life of hope and faith. As "salt", we can enhance the flavor of life and make it delicious. The presence of salt can make a difference.


Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”

Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.

Salt is good, but if it loses its saltiness, how can you make it salty again? Have salt among yourselves, and be at peace with each other.”

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