The flavor of the foods we consume can linger beyond our initial bite. The citrus-y taste of an orange, the distinct flavor of a tuna salad sandwich, the rich sweetness of a chocolate brownie. Not only does the actual taste stick with you, but it becomes familiar with us. I can imagine the taste of a piece of apple pie without actually tasting it. In the same way, tastes that we do not like stick with. If you eat a terrible tasting soup, you will likely shy away from trying that same soup again because the memory of that taste stays with you. If you eat a bland dish without any distinctive good or bad tastes, you are likely to forget about it because it lacks flavor.
Each one of us leaves our own “flavor” with the people we interact with. When we meet someone, the first impression they have of us is much like that first bite of a new food. If we portray ourselves as kind, caring, compassionate, or cheerful, we leave a good taste with that person and they will look forward to future interactions with us. On the other hand, if we are rude, disinterested, judgmental, or angry, they will not want to be around us. Even the briefest of meetings in line at the grocery store can leave a “bad taste” if the encounter is unpleasant.
What flavor are you? When you meet someone new, do they walk away with a good taste or a bad one? In yesterday’s Gospel, Jesus uses the flavor of salt to describe how we are to live as His disciples.
“You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot.” Matthew 5:13
We are called to share the love of Christ. This has to be a good flavor or we will not be able to attract others to us. If we leave a bad taste with others, how will they come to know Christ through us? And if we lack taste completely then what do we have to leave with them? We are called to leave a good taste with those around us. To let them see that we have something wonderful and amazing in Jesus!
The taste that we leave should not be brief and fleeting. Salt is a taste that stays with you. Think of a bag of salty potato chips. It seems almost impossible to eat just one! The salty flavor keeps you coming back for more. In the same way, our lives should be so full of the love of God and all His glory that people want to be around us. Our lives should be so seasoned with the salt of the Gospel that it makes others want to know more!
We cannot lose our flavor. The call to be the salt of the earth is a call to be so filled with the joy of Christ that it carries over into all that we do. Let us pray that our lives be filled with the never-ending love of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit so that we might flavor the world around us with peace, joy, grace, and love.