As many of you know, I enjoy cooking. And so our Gospel reading’s reference to seasoning resonates with me quite a bit. Sometimes you can under-season a dish: when you’re cooking, if you don’t add seasoning as you go along, at the end you can never put in enough salt or pepper to make it taste right. Sometimes you can over-season a dish, too. And then all you get is salt taste, and you’ve ruined what you were hoping for. But when you get it just right, the salt you’ve added brings out the other flavors in a dish and everything tastes just right. I love to go over to Penzey’s downtown here, because all the wonderful spices and herbs they have on display give me wonderful ideas of how to cook with just the right seasoning.
And Jesus wants us to think about that today in terms of the Christian life. Jesus doesn’t want us to be under-seasoned. We need to add seasoning all along the way: during the journey of our life, we have to be seasoned with the sacraments and with scripture so that we can come to the banquet just right. And we can’t be over-seasoned either. We have to, as St. Benedict teaches us, pray and work. Otherwise all our prayer and scripture end up all in our heads and never in our hearts, and that’s not right.
I don’t want the next two weeks to be a whole Fr. Pat retrospective, but I do feel like today’s Gospel says a lot about how I’ve experienced my time at St. Raphael’s. You have been salt and light to me. I have learned a lot along the way as you have seasoned me with your wisdom, your prayerfulness, and your willingness to serve and grow. I found that I couldn’t help but get caught up in all that, and have really loved how much I’ve learned and experienced in three too-short years. Remember then, to be salt and light for the new guy – and I say that knowing that you will be, because you can’t help it, that’s who you are as a parish.
When it comes right down to it, we are all here to season each other’s lives. We will never regret what we have given to others in terms of sharing time or experience, in terms of praying or working together. The grace of being salt and light for each other is so preferable to being the bland consumers our society would have us be. Who in our lives needs our salt and light today?