Jesus says that you and I "will be salted with fire" (Mk 9:49). The scriptural uses for salt reveal several possible meanings:
Salt was used to seal a covenant (2 Chr 13:5; Lv 2:13). We need to continually be sprinkled with the salt of the purifying, refining fire of repentance (Mal 3:2-3) to be faithful to our baptismal covenant with the Lord.
Incense was "to be salted and so kept pure and sacred" (Ex 30:35). Incense represents our prayers (Rv 5:8; 8:3-4). Our life of prayer must be salted with God's consuming fire (Heb 12:29) of love to be "kept pure and sacred."
"Every...offering that you present to the Lord shall be seasoned with salt" (Lv 2:13). We offer our bodies to God as living sacrifices (Rm 12:1). Physical sacrifices such as fasting and self-denial are like sprinklings of fire which help us to be pure and avoid hell (Mk 9:43ff).
Just now, a mother came to my house to pick up her son who was playing with my son. She has another three-year-old son who is undergoing chemotherapy to combat leukemia. This family is being "salted with fire." Each day brings a new challenge or suffering. Yet she constantly spoke of God's blessings, and as she left, she said to me, "This is making us all better people." This kind of salt purifies and preserves from death (see 2 Kgs 2:21).
Salt preserves (Tb 6:6) and flavors (Jb 6:6). Paradoxically, a sprinkling of fire, which should destroy us, can actually preserve that in us which is worthy (see 1 Cor 3:12-15).
"You are the salt of the earth" (Mt 5:13). Get fired up!
Prayer: Father, don't just sprinkle me with fire; set me aflame with Your love.
Promise: "Keep salt in your hearts and you will be at peace with one another." —Mk 9:50
Praise: Jesus healed Mark of cancer.
(This teaching was submitted by one of our editors.)
Nihil obstat: Reverend Robert L. Hagedorn, August 1, 2002
Imprimatur: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, August 7, 2002
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