Jesus said to his disciples, “You are the salt of the earth. But if salt loses its taste, with what can it be seasoned? It is no longer good for anything but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.” Matt 5:13
I have just come home from a friend’s 40th wedding anniversary party. It was really just a simple one, a casual catered event in a rented function room. There was music from one keyboard player with a teenage kid singing. What was the significance of this for me? As others would impress their guests with the food, venue and the formality of the event, I was more impressed with what was happening in the surroundings.
All their children and their families were there. The grandchildren romped endlessly in glee around the tables. Their old friends from way back were there. (We were one of the younger ones.) To cut it short, the room vibrated with something special. And it was love. Not just the love between the celebrating couple but amongst all the people present there to whom the couple related. Sure, the video presentation of the faded photos was a flop. But that did not stop the warmth and love that flowed from the guests towards the couple. Love was an intangible jewel that shone that night. It was a love that had been given and nurtured through 40 years of commitment.
In relation to that, months ago, I was at my daughter’s high school baccalaureate mass. The presiding priest really made a lot of sense. He said that with the onset of summer vacation our daughter’s ears will be filled with to-do lists from the parents, lists that will certainly be met with much resistance and complaints. But on the other hand he said, that AS A MEMBER OF THE FAMILY, our daughters should not only do as requested but even ANTICIPATE the needs of the household. He said that if our daughters do not do anything thus making them absent from the family’s chores, then he emphatically said, THEY DO NOT LOVE!
He said a person must be present with acts of love in order to love. A person may say with all her might that she loves her family, but if there in NO action, then there is NO LOVE!
In the BCBP, in chapters and units and action groups, we agonize over some people who, try as we may for repeated times to spur them into action, seem not to get it and continue to be away from community life. While some may say they’ve ”been there and done that,” I would question whether their hearts are in the right place. Among leaders caring for a group of people, a common assurance for a person who was absent is, “Never mind,” the leader would say, “I know his (the absent person) heart is in the right place.” Does this mean he is STILL IN A RELATIONSHIP OF LOVE WITH THE LORD AND OUR COMMUNITY?
Neither is it healthy for a number of members to just be at the receiving end, which is to be attending Action Group meetings only. This is also another version of ‘absence’ which festers in the community, when all other services and activities are left for the committed core to accomplish. This implies a dead faith, one that has no outlet as classically compared to the Dead Sea that, because of its high salt composition due to its not having an outlet, depletes life within it.
The Lord in Matthew 5 encourages us to be salt and light as a remedy. 365 Days with the Lord says, “The (dried camel or donkey) dung patties were gathered in heaps to be used as fuel. A salt plate was then placed at the base of the (biblical times) oven and upon it the salted dung patty. Salt has catalytic properties which cause the dung to burn. Eventually, the salt slab exhausts its catalytic ability and becomes useless. It is then thrown out where it can still provide some sure footing in a muddy road.”
Our saltiness really is not about taste but rather about the fire that we can give to our faith and to our community. Our chapter activities are not the only means and end towards loving the Lord and his church. But for close to 25 years now in the BCBP community it has proven to be the environment where I have interacted with the most selfless, zealous, humble and wise servants of the Lord in the marketplace. They did not hide themselves, but rather they shared themselves through giving of time, treasure and talent. Their love has been the fire that has molded me to love God and others in return .
The Lord does not say empty words when he tells us, “You are the light of the world. A city set on the mountain cannot be hidden. Nor do they light a lamp and then put it under a bushel basket. It is set on a lampstand, where it gives light to all in the house. Just so, your light must shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your heavenly Father.” Matthew 5:14-16