We are called to use ‘saltiness’ of our Christian lives to enhance the world

Carla Oliver

EDITOR’S NOTE: Carla Oliver wrote and sent this Scripture reflection during the Jan. 22-31 pilgrimage to France led by Bishop Louis Tylka, Father Chase Hilgenbrinck and Father Patrick Henehan. The purpose of the journey, which focused on vocations, was to offer prayers for “an increase of holy priests, consecrated men and women, and strong marriages” in the Diocese of Peoria.

Living the Word l Carla Oliver

Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time l Feb. 5

Isaiah 58:7-10; Psalm 112:4-5,6-7,8-9; 1 Corinthians 2:1-5; Matthew 5:13-16

Recently, while on pilgrimage in France, we were fortunate to stay with the Missionary Workers of the Immaculate at their House of Providence in Ars. Here we were provided with hospitality that was bountiful, but would challenge our American comforts. We were able to look to the Sisters and their staff to meet the human needs of our group — in the amenities and security of where we were staying.

“The way Jesus lived should impact every aspect of our lives and should help us to be full of flavor and with the richness of the good news.”

One of the meals that was served to us began like all good French meals, with a vegetable-based first course, a soup of blended, velvety, brightly colored contents that I believe were carrots — at least that’s what I convinced myself for the sake of being a picky eater. The beginning of this course did not draw me in, however someone else seated at my dinner table left and returned swiftly with something that would change the outcome of my entire meal. A simple solution yet a dynamic one that changed the entire complexity and taste: salt.

Salt, this simple and inexpensive seasoning, had a profound effect in the spiritual life of the Jews. In biblical times, the people used salt to purify and preserve, and even as covenantal signs.


In today’s Gospel, Jesus uses a parable once again to make a point. No, He is not talking about the seasoning that this young American tourist needed to appreciate her daily plant points, although He cares about the tiniest details of our lives. It is a reminder to His disciples back then and to all of us now that our lives need to be salty and full of flavor! Our lives need to be a bright light set on the lamp stand!

With this image, Matthew’s Gospel reminds us of how Jesus desires us to live within the world. Salt enhances the food we eat by accenting the natural flavor already present in the food. In like manner, we are called by God to enhance the world around us with the “saltiness” of our Christian lives. We should enhance the world around us by making life better for the people with whom we come into contact. This improvement in the world is what Christ accomplishes through us when we love and serve others. We improve the world around us with the love of Christ.

The way Jesus lived should impact every aspect of our lives and should help us to be full of flavor and with the richness of the good news. The message that we have been made in the image and likeness of God. That we were intentionally created to know God, to love Him, and to make him known throughout the world. That we were created, captured by sin and darkness, rescued, and by the suffering and passion of Jesus restored to the richness of eternal life and called to live in the light.

Are there areas of your life that need to be more richly flavored so that you can live the fullness of this truth?

CARLA OLIVER is the administrative assistant in the diocesan Office of Vocations. A former missionary with the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS), her experience included leading Bible studies. She can be reached at coliver@cdop.org.

SPALDING PASTORAL CENTER | 419 NE MADISON AVENUE | PEORIA, IL 61603 | PHONE (309) 671-1550 | FAX (309) 671-1595
© Copyright 2024 - The Catholic Post || All Rights Reserved || Design by TBare.com