This homily was delivered at the chapel service St. John Rehabilitation Hospital on Sunday, February 9, 2014
Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.
In the passage before the one we heard today, Jesus was teaching his disciples the beatitudes: Blessed are the poor, those who mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemakers, and those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness. He tells us to Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven…
Those who do the blessings are his people, his church. If we stop being salty, that is, if we stop being and acting like His people who spread and teach the Gospel of Love, then we are like salt mixed with other impure substances. We will, as the Gospel of Luke tells us, become “of no use either for the soil or for the manure pile. It is thrown away”.
A world class chef works hard to put just the right mix of spices on his food, so it tastes exactly right. Then when the food comes out to the guest, someone who doesn’t know better, may immediately pick up the salt or pepper and throw it on the food, completely destroying what the Chef intended the food to taste like.
God wants his people to taste a certain way. He keeps it simple to understand, but in a way that will take a lifetime to comprehend: which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” . . . . You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbour as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”
As Jesus says he didn’t come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it. The law properly understood is Love. Love the Lord your God with everything you are, and love your neighbour as you would love yourself. The more you love, the more salty you become. The more you study the words of God, the more time you spend with him in prayer, the more you come to know him and the more you will radiate his light to a dark and hurting world.
Jesus is the light of the world and just as one flame lit all these candles behind me, the flame of the holy sprit lives in each of us and reflects the love of Christ to the world around us. Do not hide this love from anyone, not a single person. It is easy to love someone who loves you, or at least doesn’t annoy you. To love one who appears undeserving of your love is an act that is only possible through divine intervention. Allow the love of Christ to flow through you to each other. While you are here in this place, recovering, I encourage you to do things that will increase your saltiness. Comfort each other, pray with and for each other, and study God’s words if you can get a Bible. Jesus says we ARE the salt and we ARE light. We are to be salt and light where we are right now today, not just some day one day.
You are all here for different reasons, but you can all show the love of Christ while you’re here. Show each other what it means to love and to be loved by Jesus.