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All Issues > Volume 33, Issue 2

<< Thursday, February 23, 2017 >> St. Polycarp
Sirach 5:1-8
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Psalm 1:1-4, 6 Mark 9:41-50
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"Everyone will be salted with fire." —Mark 9:49

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). 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: St. Polycarp, a disciple of the original apostles, was burned at the stake for his faith in Jesus.
(This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
(Come and worship with the community at Our Lady of Guadalupe Discipleship Center in beautiful Adams County, Ohio. Check our website for the schedule of retreats or come for a silent retreat on your own.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant the Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") for One Bread, One Body covering the period from February 1, 2017 through March 31, 2017.
†Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 12, 2016.
The Nihil Obstat ("Permission to Publish") is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted the Nihil Obstat agree with the contents, opinions, or statements expressed.
Volume 33, Issue 2
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