CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Sunday, 1 September 2019

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Education Day 2016

You are the Salt of the Earth

Despite the fact that salt is essential to life, too much or too little can be detrimental to our health. But as the tendency in today’s society is to overdo salt consumption, doctors generally advise a salt reduced diet to maintain a good balance.

Characteristic and value of salt

Common table salt in itself is just fine particles. It can be bought quite cheaply at any supermarket. Inside its dispenser it is fairly worthless, but when added to food or used to baste meat, it really shows its value. 

When used as seasoning, as a preservative or to enhance flavour, its real value comes to the fore. It is in interaction with other things that its true value shines.

You are the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13)

Jesus says, “You are the salt of the earth,” he does not say, “You should be” or “You could be.” He states a fact, “You are the salt…” He is not presenting an option. It is the highest compliment, a tremendous encouragement and a clear and powerful invitation to the call of service.

Being the salt of the earth is not just something to think about. It is a call to action.

Catholic educators—salt bearing witness

In a society striving for excellence in academics, research, science, technology and many other fields, Catholic education is likely to become less important. But while secular education deals only with the human aspect, Catholic education deals with the transcendent. 

God is the centre of Catholic education and God brings meaning to knowledge, as well as respect for and sanctity to life. The basic responsibility of a Catholic educator is to bear witness to the truth and the values taught by Christ and his Church.

Catholic education— not just to teach, but to transform

As Catholic educators, we do not seek only to make life better and produce more effective, successful and intelligent people who can fit into the world system. We are not here only to lecture, or even to lecture with excellence. We teach not only to inform the mind, but to renew the mind. What goes into heads must move hearts and change lives. 

We commit ourselves to training our students so that they can learn for themselves and make their own decisions with problem-solving skills and creative thinking. We want them to learn not only the what and the why, but the how of acting according to the truth and the life values which Our Lord and his Church teach us.

But how can we disperse ourselves like grains of salt to transform the taste of the culture in which we have been brought up? 

At times, we may be discouraged. Nevertheless, we must remain faithful to stay salty. God uses our littleness to make his presence in this society of which we are contributing members known.

The influence of salt

A professor attended a parent-teacher night. His daughter urged him to meet her biology teacher. The professor arrived late and sat in the back row. He heard the teacher describing all the experiments his students were doing. His presentation was really impressive. 

Finally, the professor approached him and discovered that the teacher was a polio victim in a wheelchair. He also found out that he had several PhDs and was well appreciated by a variety of universities.

“Why do you keep teaching in high school?” the professor asked.

“Can you think of anything more exciting than moulding young minds and producing souls with the right values?” he replied.

This is the unique role of Catholic education—the influence of salt.


We are the salt of the earth, silently working to be a good influence on other people.

To be the Salt of the Earth:

we don’t have to be outstanding, but just do small things with great love;

we don’t have to pursue worldly success as measured by the world’s standards;

we desire to renew the hearts of our students in order to let the Holy Spirit bear fruit in them;

we shall ultimately be contented if we do succeed in having an influence on our little corner of the world by making Jesus known and loved.



Catholic Education Office
Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong

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