For truly I tell you, whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you bear the name of Christ will by no means lose the reward.
“If any of you put a stumbling block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were hung around your neck and you were thrown into the sea. If your hand causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life maimed than to have two hands and to go to hell, to the unquenchable fire. And if your foot causes you to stumble, cut it off; it is better for you to enter life lame than to have two feet and to be thrown into hell. And if your eye causes you to stumble, tear it out; it is better for you to enter the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and to be thrown into hell, where their worm never dies, and the fire is never quenched.
“For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
In the New American Bible translation of the closing verse, we read “if salt becomes insipid, with what will you restore its flavor?” Insipid. What an attention-getting word, so much more forceful than the poetic older translation “what if the salt shall lose its savor?” We are the “salt of the earth”—those who are called to live the Gospel and share it by the example of our lives. If we are insipid in our faith, in our discipleship, we are useless.
Elsewhere in Scripture, Jesus says “because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth.” (Rev. 3:16). In what am I lukewarm? In being fully present to prayer? In awareness of the needs of those around me? In compassion for the poor, the homeless, the difficult people in my life?
St. Ignatius advised the early Jesuits to “go, set the world on fire!” How can I apply that advice in my own life?
—Barbara Lee is a spiritual director, an Ignatian Volunteer, and the author of God Isn’t Finished With Me Yet: Discovering the Spiritual Graces of Later Life published by Loyola Press