A Gospel Gem…………
Sometimes children and young people have a way of saying things that captures perfectly the essence of a subject.
On Monday last I was privy to such a special moment. We were having a prayer service for the opening of the school year at St. Mary’s Boys school, the theme I had chosen was that lovely passage from the Gospel of Matthew (5:13-16)
“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
I developed the imagery of salt for the young people and through interactive questions they spoke well of it as giving taste and flavour to food, and how about only a pinch was enough to make the difference. We then spoke of the days before fridges and one pupil knew all about salt being used in the pickling process to stop food going bad.
I suggested that Jesus maybe wanted his followers to be people who add flavour to human life and who could stop the world going bad. I then threw out a question. How can we be like the salt of the earth that Jesus wants us to be? The answer I got from one pupil was a classic, he immediately said, “By putting a little bit of love into everything that we do.” ; now there’s an answer that captures so much of the essence of the Gospel message in one short sentence. If indeed we did put a little bit of love into everything we do, think of the transformative power that this would set loose in our world. If instead of acting out of self-interest and for our own good we injected a little bit of love into our every human interaction what a profound difference this could make. The answer that that boy gave draws together many of the teachings of Jesus about loving our neighbour, forgiving the offender, refusing to judge others, encouraging the weak and the broken etc. He hit the nail on the head! The Gospel is in essence really very simple.
Fr. Philip Curran