This Sunday begins the old custom of a pre-Lenten season. From the sixth century until the 1960's, calendars in the Western Church called the third Sunday before Lent "Septuagesima," the Latin for "seventy." The names of this Sunday and the following two seem to be based on a rough approximation of the number of days before Easter.
One New Testament lesson for Morning Prayer is St. Matthew 5:1-16. This selection contains the Beatitudes which can inspire extensive meditations. This time, I will focus on St. Matthew 5:13: Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.
Christ's followers are called upon to have the character of salt in the world. Salt is a flavor, a nutrient and a preservative. It is to be hoped that Christians can be all three in the world. We know better than to expect the whole world to be salt, but Christ's followers should add to the quality of earthly life for those around us. And if we are not thinking and acting in ways that add something, we have lost our purpose, become useless and are ready to be discarded. May we look at ourselves and allow God's grace to make us saltier.