Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Tuesday word, 12 Jun 2007

10th Tuesday of the Year (12 Jun 2007) 2Co 1. 18-22; Ps 119; Mt 5. 13-16
Homily of Fr. Paul Panaretos, S.J.
Mirroring Jesus

The use of Amen, the Hebrew affirmation of someone’s statement, So be it--or very concisely, Yes--is not limited to a response to another. All four gospels attest to the unique way Jesus used Amen: he used it to affirm the truth of his own important sayings. Plus, Jesus used Amen at the beginning of them never at the end.

St. Paul gave us his insight that Jesus embodied Yes, so be it, Amen, with his life. Our Amen is secondary to Jesus: all God’s promises find their Yes in Jesus. That is why we utter the Amen through Jesus, to the glory of God.

The guarantee, the security, God gives us in him is not about anything triumphal or elitist. It is God’s gracious gift of placing us with Christ leading us to serve his gospel. The security God gives us frees us to be like Jesus more able decide for the good news of the kingdom with life-and-death consequences./1/

Another way to appreciate stark consequences is Yes and No. Yet another way is the irreversible choice of God to save humanity, God’s everlasting covenant of salt, as it was called many times in scripture.

Salt was part of all offerings: with all your offerings you shall offer salt./2/ Jesus transformed sacrifice by being the sacrifice. We are to imitate his selfless love. Recalling the essential use of salt in the first covenant helps us appreciate Jesus’ words about salt: they have everything to do with witness, even unto death. Jesus words are not about salt and light: Jesus transformed the salt of offering into the witness of one’s life. Light on a mountain is salt full strength; the light of a lamp under a bushel is tasteless salt.

Offering ourselves to God: placing ourselves in God’s heart, devoting ourselves to the gospel of Jesus, however we name it, is no small thing. Nor do we do justice to our family name, Christian, if we consider it that way. Instead, we are to mirror our light, Jesus, each moment we live and follow his lead in giving glory to God.
/1/ See 2 Corinthians 2.14-16: But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumph in Christ and manifests through us the odor of the knowledge of him in every place. For we are the aroma of Christ for God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to the latter an odor of death that leads to death, to the former an odor of life that leads to life. Who is qualified 10 for this?
In his metaphor of aroma, Paul very well could have traded on incense, which sweetened the offerings of the first covenant. Incense was always seasoned with salt, pure and holy (Exodus 30.34-38).

/2/ Leviticus 2.13: However, every cereal offering that you present to the LORD shall be seasoned with salt. Do not let the salt of the covenant of your God be lacking from your cereal offering. On every offering you shall offer salt.

Wiki-photo of sea-salt harvest is used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License.

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