September 26

Mark 9:42-50

“For everyone will be salted with fire. Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another.” vss. 49-50

In the ancient world salt was enormously valuable, not only for its flavor, but for its value as a preservative. For that reason it became a natural metaphor for Jesus, along with fire, as he described how faith can grow and endure in a life of discipleship. It was well-known that steel grew stronger when heated in flames–the tempering process was essential in producing weapons and tools. Early Christians were taught that their painful experiences in times of persecution would work to make their faith stronger. And that was indeed the way it worked–the Church grew through the blood of the martyrs. The suffering worked like fire and salt to grow and preserve the Church. There’s still truth in that metaphor! Faith is fixed and becomes strong in our lives, not because the good times have been rolling, but because we’ve been challenged and toughened by the fire and salt of life in this world. Those times come to everyone, not because we crave adversity, but because that’s how life is. It is as we embrace those moments, even tasting the salt, that our convictions are formed and strengthened. And amazingly, as we come to terms with our saltiness, we learn to be content in ourselves and live at peace with one another.

Thought for the Day: How has adversity toughened me?

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