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  • Writer's pictureElpidio Pezzella

Seasoned With Fire

For everyone will be seasoned with fire, and every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt. Salt is good, but if the salt loses its flavor, how will you season it? Have salt in yourselves, andhave peace with one another.

(Mark 9:49-50 NKJV)

Mark the Evangelist in this passage repeatedly invites us to refrain from certain behaviors that lead to the "gehenna" of eternal fire, where by gehenna we mean the place, which in those times was used as a waste deposit. His is an invitation with even drastic implications to avoid eternal condemnation for the listener. Our mortal body will be eaten by worms, but there is a part within us that will remain forever. The evangelist speaks of a passage in the presence of God, where our being does not know decomposition. Jesus exhorts us not to behave in such a way as to scandalize others, which tarnish the Gospel or make preaching vain. It makes no sense to argue that life is something that belongs to us and that we manage at will. The Lord has given us hands, eyes and feet, but if we use them exclusively for negative realities, it becomes appropriate to follow what the Gospel says, that is to say "amputate them". This gesture is a metaphor to say that if our actions, our plans and the things we look at or do can be an occasion for sin, it would be better to avoid it, so that we do not have to regret it later. The responsibility for what we do and think is ours, it is unthinkable to take it on to God. Behind the Christian life is our freedom, since God created us free, giving us the ability to choose between good and evil.

As believers we should always strive for the good, but it happens that negative choices are made. Jesus gives us another solution: "For everyone will beseasoned with fire,and[every sacrifice will be seasoned with salt" (Mark 9:49). According to Jewish law, every sacrifice, to be pleasing to God, had to be salted with salt before being offered on the altar (Leviticus 2:13). Fire is connected with purification. And by fire we mean the experiences that purify life. It is the discipline with which the believer overcomes his evil. Being salted with fire is the solution to our inability to cut away what is not good: the so-called stove of affliction, the fire of bitterness that quenches and allows salt to escape from our being. Whenever we find ourselves making mistakes, it will be the work of the Spirit, through a preaching, through personal reading or prayer, and our submitting to Him, will cause a fire to release the salt that God has deposited in us. The word of God is a salt that dwells in our bowels and when life subjects us to trials, difficulties and bitterness, from the repentance of our flesh salt should come out. However, this element does not serve to give us new flavor, but must testify that it is already within us and that it serves to give flavor to our neighbor.

The salt also recalls another well-known biblical event, that concerning the exit of Lot and his family from Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot's wife, not following the advice not to look back and see what she was leaving behind, was turned into a pillar of salt (Genesis 19:26). This episode should make us remember how our life changed when we accepted Jesus and not because we started attending a particular church. From that moment we live differently and those who observe us must not only think that we frequent a certain community, but must be struck by our new way of being, the result of a new birth. If, on the other hand, in the eyes of those who know us as such, we carry out actions that recall Sodom and Gomorrah, this will be an indication of a lack of salt, of spiritual sapidity. That is why it is better to have one eye, one hand, one foot but to be in life that the Lord has come to bring: "I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly" (John 10:10) . Salt is good, but if it becomes tasteless what salt is it? If a Christian does not behave like a Christian, he is not what he says he is. However, if we consider the drone as the Spirit, the expression of Jesus takes on a new guise. We so need the action of the Spirit, that fire that descends from above, capable of giving us the wisdom necessary to salt the world. Come then Spirit to give us the full flavor of who belongs to Christ.


Weekly Bible Reading

Plan # 49

November 29, Ezekiel 35-36; 2 Peter 1

November 30, Ezekiel 37-39; 2 Peter 2

December 01, Ezekiel 40-41; 2 Peter 3

December 02, Ezekiel 42-44; 1 John 1

December 03, Ezekiel 45-46; 1 John 2

December 04, Ezekiel 47-48; 1 John 3

December 05, Daniel 1-2; 1 John 4

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