Posts Tagged ‘#salt’

Pass the Salt …. Please!

July 8, 2017

In the United States, Independence Day, which is a national holiday, fell on a Tuesday. As it turns out, I also received a Jury Summons for Monday. Now, for those who are not from the United States, or who might not be familiar, I will explain at least on a surface level, the Jury Summons.

In the United States, if you are accused of a crime, you have the right to a trial by a group of citizens who are called to sit through the trial proceedings, and are given some instructions on the law that has been supposedly broken, and then that group of people decide the guilt or innocence of the person or group that is on trial.

It is part of our duty as citizens, when called upon to serve. We receive a letter from the court (Summons) to show up on a day and time, to see if we will be selected to serve as a person ( juror) in the group that determines the guilt or innocence during the trial.

Needless to say, it is something you are required to do as a citizen, unless there is some compelling reason why you can not serve. Among some, there are jokes about how to get out of doing this type of service. In some cases it is blatantly obvious who is trying to get out of the service, but did not want to get in trouble for not showing up. I see this service as part of a moral obligation to not only
help provide morally correct justice for the parties involved, but also, because this is part of our duty,” to render unto Caesar, that which belongs to Caesar”.

I have received five such calls to service. In that time, I have never been selected to sit in on a trial. By and large, the day ends up with me being sent home after spending a rather long day sitting in a room with approximately 100 other citizens from all walks of life.

The courthouse where I reported for duty is, interestingly not far from a church that is there to serve the downtown area. Since I was let go a bit early, I thought to myself, this is a perfect opportunity to go to Mass that would be starting shortly..

I have worked near the downtown area previously and enjoyed the opportunity to attend a noontime Holy Mass. So I hastened to the church where I arrived shortly before the 2nd Reading. I have to confess that I honestly do not remember what the second reading or the Gospel was (hanging my head).

I can tell you something that stuck with me about the Homily. First, I have to tell you though, the Holy Mass was being con-celebrated by two Franciscan friars, and admittedly it did my heart good to see friars since I do not get that opportunity often as of late.

Anyway, the thing that stuck in my head was a story that the homilist was telling about his days as a novice, and how it was that one of the Novice Masters was a former Trappist Monk. One day while they were sitting there at a meal, the Novice Master explained that in his former life, they were not to speak even at meals, and so they had to sign for the salt if that was what they wanted.. As time went on , and they got to know the individual monk, they just knew that is was needed and it would be passed to them.

This calls to mind 2 different passages. The first, being Genesis 4: 9 and the second is Luke 11:5 .
In Genesis 4:9 is the telling of the story and Cain and Able, ”
Then the LORD asked Cain, Where is your brother Abel? He answered, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?” Here we are reminded , in fact, that we are held to account for what happens to our brothers and sisters in this life. Much like the Trappist monk, we as Franciscans who live and work in the world , and even for those who are not Franciscans, we are called to strive to learn and understand the needs of our brothers and sisters, who are not in the same place as we are, but who have the same basic needs that we do, and to work to provide the basic needs of our brothers and sisters. Even so, that they do not have to ask us. We as we progress in faith, will, like the monks, begin to understand and through insight, be able to know what those are, and to work towards being the conduit of the graces that we have received.

The second reading is from Luke 11:5-8 ”
And he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend to whom he goes at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread, for a friend of mine has arrived at my house from a journey and I have nothing to offer him, and he says in reply from within, ‘Do not bother me; the door has already been locked and my children and I are already in bed. I cannot get up to give you anything.’
I tell you, if he does not get up to give him the loaves because of their friendship, he will get up to give him whatever he needs because of his persistence. ”

The story behind this story is that Christ is teaching the disciples about prayer and the importance in persistence in prayer. There is another facet here, however, as it relates to this story.

The man who is in need is going to his friend, his brother, and asking for not only food, to provide to his guest, but is seeking mercy from his brother. Jesus never says if the man got up to provide the requested bread or not. What is clear however, is that just as the monk who is asking for the salt for his meal, the man in the parable who is asking for bread, has a need. We as brothers and sisters, have the capacity to share our graces, our blessings, our very selves with our brothers and sisters.

At the end of days, when we stand before the Throne of the Almighty, and He asks that same question to us “Where is your brother ?” We will have nothing there to answer, except … ” see I have brought him with me…”

May God give you the gift His peace !

Baking Bread with Brother Bear (Part III)

February 6, 2016

SourDough1In this next discussion on bread, we are going to talk a bit about salt.

Bread in its most basic components, needs salt. It needs salt for flavor development in the wheat.
Aside from the type of flour types being used or any other “additives” that would be there to make additions to the bread, salt is just needed. Otherwise the bread is bland, and tastes like paste.

Salt is a balancing act, in baking bread, and in life. Too much salt in the bread. and it will ruin the bread, too little and the bread will be bland and no one will want to eat it.

Salt, it is the mineral people love to hate, to love. Salt is one of those things you can’t do without, and you don’t want too much of. The World Heath Organization says that they recommend about 5 grams a salt per day per person. Generally, people tend to consume a bit more than this.

It has been said that nomads of biblical times did not need to consume salt because they subsisted on the meat from their herds and blocks. An animals tissues contain salt, where as in other places there the diet consisted of mostly plant based nutrition, needed to add salt to their diets for healthy life because their diets had less salt due to not consuming any meat.

Just in case you thought your life was difficult because you had to go get your salt from the store, in biblical times, salt was gotten by putting seawater into little indentations in rock and when the seawater evaporated and the salt was harvested from there.

Salt is used not only as flavoring or seasoning, but also as disinfectant, and preservative.

Saline is used to pump fluids into the body in hospitals, it is used as irrigation and cleanser for wounds. It is used to balance electrolytes in the system and has a normative effect.

Salt is used as a preservative for foods, in drying meats, and in canned foods etc.

Salt can be viewed as one of the basic components of life for all animals ( including the human animal ).

In the Bible, there are several references to salt, in 2 Chronicles 13:5 King Abijah, King of Judah stood on Mount Zemarain, and said to his enemy, “Do you not know that the LORD, the God of Israel, has given David kingship over Israel forever, to him and to his sons, by a covenant of salt? ”

In this case salt is used as a description of the Davidic covenant, the salt covenant is a covenant that could not be changed and would last forever.

IN this same vein, in Leviticus 2:13 we find Salt used as part of the Hebrew sacrificial practices
” You shall season all your grain offerings with salt. Do not let the salt of the covenant with your God* be lacking from your grain offering. On every offering you shall offer salt.”

This shows how valuable salt was in biblical times, that is was included in the offerings as sacrifice.

In the New Testament of course the most salient reference to salt is in the the Sermon on the Mount.
in Matthew 5:13 we read “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. 14 You are the light of the world. A city set on a mountain cannot be hidden.”

In this sermon, the Lord is telling us that WE are the salt of the earth, and we are the light of the world.
We are told that we are to be light and salt, but what does that really say to us ? How does it apply to us ?

The Salt that is gone bad.. is useless, it can not be used for anything and gets tossed. WE are that salt.
a Christian, whose faith does not change them, who does not practice their faith, who does not LIVE their faith, whose faith does not “flavor” their lives, and the lives of those they come in contact with, is not living a useful life from a spiritual perspective.

We are disciples of Christ are to be gathered, like salt. We gather every week, or every day, as often as possible, just like the salt that was harvested from the Dead sea, from the waters, we are gathered we are warmed by the Son’s rays.. we are filled with flavor and light and then we are sprinkled around within our own daily lives, and flavor the world within which we live.

Salt is precious to the one who possesses it. We are precious to God. Salt is used judiciously to bring out the very best in the bread it is used. If we open ourselves to Gods will, then He will use us, to bring out the very best in the world and in us.

May God give you the gift of His peace !