Fire and Salt

“For everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt.  Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and have peace with one another.” Mark 9:49-50

Thought from the Fathers (a collation)

Salt and Fire purify. In this passage the word translated as “seasoned” is better translated as “salted”. “Everyone will be salted with fire” is similar to words of St. Paul, where he says,  “or the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is.” 1 Corinthians 3:13 .Τhis again echoes the prophetic words in the Book of Leviticus, “add salt to all your offerings.” ( 2:13) The fathers say that we keep this commandment according to the spiritual law, when with every gift of worship as a blessing or given to our neighbour is set before God with good grace, and thus, according to the words of the Gospel, we season our sacrificial gift before God. What about not only seasoning with salt, but seasoning with fire?

Does this not relate to “I came to send fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled!” (Luke 12:49 )? and the idea of being “fervent in spirit, serving the Lord” (Romans 12:11)

Salt is good if it does not lose its flavour. Does this not imply that the followers of Christ are to keep their zeal, and as salt preserves and purifies and prevents the rot setting in, so also “having salt in yourselves means we continually need God’s Grace. Here the salt signifies the grace of the Holy Spirit. Other fathers write that the fire represents zeal and salt discernment. This is apparent where St. Paul says “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt” (Colossians 4:3).

Salt does two things, it preserves and it provides flavour, and makes taste real. The work of the Christian is to prevent the rot setting in. However, that is only one side. A positive take shows that the salt is the thing that provides the flavour, something that offers life its spiritual dimensuon. Anybody whose words are seasoned with salt, will have a heart and mind turned towards God and subsequently be at peace with others. Our seasoned words, should simply be those that edify and encourage our brothers and sisters in Christ.

 

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