Homily Salt - February 5, 2023

Matthew 5:13-16         2-5-2023            (As built, Amite #531) 

  1. Salt… as in… salt of the earth… are you worth your salt… 
  2. The year is 2004… everybody that is going to the Seminary by and large about a hundred young men… about ninety five percent of them are the age of twenty to twenty three… there are about ten of us… who are over forty… they referred to our part of the hall as the geriatric wing… we thank you… everybody is kind of worth their salt because they’ve been to a junior Seminary… they’ve learned different things… they understand theology better… they understand liturgy better… they may understand the workings of the Church… the Catechism… but for those of us who are change of life guys… you kind of got to prove your salt… so my first class that I’m involved in is Philosophy… ouch… first class I show up with my legal pad… I don’t have a laptop I came from a business I had administrators… I had secretaries… I had finance… I had this that and the other… I didn’t need a laptop I did everything on a legal pad… I show up to my first class of philosophy… there’s twenty young men in there all the ages of twenty to to twenty two and they all got laptops… the teacher walked in and says my name is Dr. Jacobs… and today we’re going to learn about Being… yeah boy… being… and I remember thinking oh my God… we’re going to burn a day talking about who… I said what’s worse is we’re going to pay a guy to talk about this all day… well he says this is how it works… when test time comes I will give you fifty words of which I will pick twenty five… they will be definitions… and then you’ll have a couple essays… by the time the final comes… can I tell you I am at the line… of not passing… I’m there… you pass final you pass… you don’t pass… you go home… he says I’m going to give you one hundred words… I will pick fifty so that means you’ve got to memorize a hundred… as you know one of the greatest blessings is the ability to memorize… so I memorize all one hundred… he said and then we will have a couple essays… he gives us the fifty definitions in the test… I’m sitting right in front of him…got the class around you… and then he has these essays… I know… you know… he knows… I’m not getting anything on the essays… I read the essay I’m not even sure what language that is… I’m looking at it and I’m saying I’ll take the other fifty words I memorized and just stick it in there hoping one of those will pop up in the essay… as a result of it I go through the test… man I fill it out… man I’m telling you my brothers and sisters in Christ I’m in trouble… I go back and start counting the points… that’s two… that’s four… that’s six… I ain’t getting nothing for that… I wouldn’t even give me anything for that answer… I’m there… I am two points short… I know… of passing this class.. I’m not taking it again… It was painful enough the first time I’m not going through it again… I am not going to be the first seminarian to fail day one of semester one… as a result of it I add up the points and I’m in trouble… I’m looking around these guys man they’re… oh my gosh I mean it’s just non-stop… except the guy next to me… who’s my age… I look at him and he looks at me like don’t look over here brother there ain’t nothing happening… okay… he looks at me like if we’re going to cheat this is going to be the time to do it right here… you know that little angel that’s on your shoulder that says okay… you’re in the Seminary… do right… Okay… and then the devil is in my ear… yeah you’re going home this afternoon you better cheat… so I’m trying to get this angel off of my shoulder right… so finally I can’t take it… I said Dr. Jacob… are you going to have a bonus question… and he looks at me… this is a masters program… you don’t get bonus questions… I said oh… okay… and he says really you want a bonus question… I said yeah I think it would help… you know… so he said well I’ll think about it… so I put my pen down… so he just looks at me and I’m thinking look either you’re going to help me or I’m going to cheat we’re getting out of this class okay… well man he finally says okay seminarian Beard… by this time now people have stopped… what do you want… I said how about five quotes… you put the quote up… we guess the person… now think of where I’m at… I’m thinking about you know do not shoot until you see the whites of their eyes… or I have not yet begun to fight… right I need two… two points I know it… so he puts up these five quotes… and I look at them and I look at my buddy and he said I don’t know none of them… I said so are you going to have a word jumble over here on the other side… he says are you kidding me… a word jumble… I said yeah you know where you kinda got to match the words with the statement you know… he just can’t believe what he’s hearing… and so he puts out Socrates, Plato and Saint Augustine it didn’t really matter right… I know Augustine is not the philosopher per se… so as a result of such he puts theses quotes… one of them is pure Augustine… I prayed it was pure Augustine… so I write the name Augustine and then I put Socrates on all the other ones… now you know where I’m going… see you’re catching on… you are worth your salt… there you go… and just so you know the young guy behind me… keep going I need the help… keep pushing… we need more then five… I’m thinking really… right so he takes it… I hand him my paper…  I’m sitting right there he grades them in class and I watch him… and I’m counting two, four, six, eight, ten… he gets to the essay… he looks at it… and he looks at me… he gets to the end and y’all it was priceless… he gets to the bonus section… he looks at it… he gets it… he looks at it… he looks at me and I put up two fingers… and he said yeah… I said yes! I passed… my brothers and sisters in Christ that is worth your salt… 
  3. My brothers and sisters in Christ that is exactly the Gospel… the good Lord saying are you worth your salt… or should I throw you out and you get trampled under foot… not let me tell you why that’s important to the Jewish people… to the Roman people… to the Apostles… in their day… you men worked for Rome… and the way you were paid is in salt… this is where we get the Latin term salary… salarium… so if you were going to battle you would be paid in salt because paying you in money is irrelevant because there’s not a stop and go along the way… so you can use your salt to preserve your food which is obviously important or you can use it to purchase a slave… this is where we get the term are you worth your salt because you’re giving up a food preservative… so from a male standpoint in Roman society they get it… to the apostles there was a guy by the name of Elisha who used blessed salt to decontaminate a well… that well today still runs clean… two thousand and something years later… so he’s telling his apostles are you worth it or are you not… now next time you look at a last supper painting… you know the one where all the apostles are getting a photo op so they all get one one side to eat right… if you look closely at the elbow of Judas he has knocked over the table salt… that’s where he’s going with it…
  4. So my brothers and sisters in Christ all of our best players in scripture are those that are worth their salt… but they didn’t start off that day… so for case and point Saul to Paul… look nobody wants to help Saul… as a matter of fact when he’s blind Ananias doesn’t even want to go cure him the good Lord has actually got to tell Ananias you go to second street and you need to cure a guy named Saul… you know what Ananias’ argument is to God… I don’t think you want to do that… that guy kills Christians… I cure him… he sees he kills Ananias we leave him blind… he said go what you’ve got to do because he will be a great orator for me… the Gentile church… he goes from Saul to Paul… you want to talk about somebody worth their salt… that’s Paul… I mean let’s be honest… we stoned him so bad on one of his first homilies they thought they left him for dead… a number of the ships he gets on… they all sink… and let me tell you… when he finally gets to the island of Cyprus grab this… he goes to get near a fire and a viper bites him… that’s the measure of the resolve… he’s worth his salt… my brothers and sisters in Christ you and I can say what we want about Mary Magdalene… but she had all seven demons… nobody in scripture has that… she’s worth her salt… my brothers in Christ you and I never speak about Peter’s wife… her name’s Porphyria by the way… man she’s got game… well because if she doesn’t agree with what Peter’s got to do… he will never become the Vicar of Christ… man she’s got to be able to take care of herself now… she’s got to be her own fisher person if you will… she’s got to take care of the house… he’s got a couple of boats… it’s all on her… because he’s got to start traveling… you know she’s martyred in the same day we believe or at least very minimally the same week… my brothers in Christ that is what it means to be worth your salt… it doesn’t matter where you came from… it’s where you go from this day forward… 
  5. So now here you and I sit two thousand years later… are you and I worth our salt… well let’s see… when you tell somebody I will be there… you’re going to be there because you gave your word you were going to be there… you don’t care what happens in the world… you don’t care who calls you… the email or text message… you said you were going to be there… you’re showing up… are you going to be there when you tell them hey look I’m going to call you later… and that will happen… your word is your bond… my brothers and sisters in Christ I’m begging you… do not get caught up in the world… where you get caught up in the contractual things… for example… I would like to help you at work but according to my work description that’s not me… or worse… I’m sorry I don’t get paid to do that… now we’ve tied our name to a decimal point… the last guy that did that is Judas… you know how things ended up for him… it would’ve been better you never been born… my brothers in Christ when you give your word that’s your bond… we could have ten Wall Street Attorneys write a contract but it’s only as good as the signature on it… it’s only as good as your word… I’ll tell you what… if somebody comes to you and says look I got something to tell you don’t tell nobody else this is between you and I… is that where it stays… no matter what happens once it gets said who comes to you or what get’s proclaimed it’s not leaving your lips… because you gave your word… because you’re worth your salt… that this will go down… my brothers and sisters in Christ when you tell somebody you’re going to go by and see them… you make a point to go see them… even though if it inconveniences you… that no matter what else is going on in the world… when somebody stands right in front of you…are they the most important person in the world… are they the most important person in the world or are they not… Mother Teresa was right… the one in front of you is the most important person in the world… and so when they asked her… mother are you going to change the world… she said yes… one person at a time… she gave her word she was worth her salt… my brothers and sisters in Christ she has no money and all she brought to the table was sacrifice… God so loved the world I sent my son for the sacrifice of many… when you tell somebody you love them… you’ve told them you will sacrifice for them… this is why the good Lord is hammering on Peter… Peter do you love me… well yes Lord… Peter do you love me… well yeah I love you… Peter listen to me do you love me… Lord… oh my God you’re in front of the Apostles you know I love you… well someday they’re going to take you where you don’t want to go… upside down… and for three hours you’ll proclaim the Gospel… That is a man worth his salt… when you go into a conversation and you walk away… will people say well there goes a disciple of Jesus Christ… man when you sit down to pray regardless if they call on you do you make the sign of the cross… everybody at that table knows that you’re a good Catholic… you’re a good Christian… that that is a disciple of Jesus Christ… you are either worth your salt or you’re not… that’s all that’s going to matter… 
  6. Please tell me… that Napoleon Bonaparte… was right in this issue… is the only time that you give your word… is when you’re not going to keep it… my brothers and sisters in Christ are you or are you not worth your salt… 
  7. Amen...

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