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How you can change the world by being “salt of the earth”


Oleg Znamenskiy | Shutterstock

Philip Kosloski - published on 06/08/20

It doesn't take much salt to add flavor and similarly, each person can influence their community be being the change they want to see.

Jesus said to his disciples, “You are the salt of the earth” (Matthew 5:13). What does that mean?

Fr. James Bellord, in the Pulpit Commentary on Catholic Teaching, writes, “Salt is a very important element of food. It must be used with all other kinds of food, both animal and vegetable. It is necessary for the healthiness of food, it preserves it from corruption, seasons it, destroys insipidity, draws out its flavor.

Similarly, Christians who live out the Gospel, “influence it, and penetrate it by their example, to check putrefaction, to season it by imparting the good savor of Jesus Christ. It is the function, not of the Church only in its corporate capacity, but of each individual acting separately, according to the talents and vocation that God has given him.”

The beauty of this analogy is that in order for salt to be effective in seasoning a certain food, it must be used in small quantities. This means that it doesn’t take much to change the world. We can be the change we want to see in our local community by starting first with our own lives.

Salt is exceedingly penetrating; a small quantity seasons a large amount of food … if we really make ourselves by holiness the salt of the earth, the small quantity of this salt will be sufficient to do the work desired by God in the midst of the great mass [of people].

The prime example, besides Jesus Christ, is the apostles. The apostles were 12 insignificant men who, with the help of God’s grace, changed the entire world.

This is why change must always start with us first and foremost. We can be a major influence by the manner of our life, no matter how “insignificant” we are in the eyes of the world.

That same power resides in each one of us. A good Catholic life, formed by divine grace and acting through prayer and good example, should be one of the most potent influences for good among the masses of mankind; and there is no reason outside a man’s own free will why he should not, in his own special way, lead such a life. It is wonderful what one [person] can do against the world. 

The saints provide numerous other examples to inspire us. We may never be popular in the world or have massive political influence, but we can change the world, just by living a life of holiness.


Read more:
Saints who fought racism


Read more:
For difficult times: 8 Inspiring quotes from saints

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