In fact, they exist in every age, as Saint Paul’s words to Timothy demonstrate (cf. 2 Timothy 4:1-5), and also Saint Dominic and his first Brothers, who moved between these two scenarios 800 years ago.
Paul warns Timothy that he must proclaim the Gospel in the midst of a context where people are always looking for new teachers, myths, different doctrines and ideologies … “Prurientes auribsu” (2 Timothy 4:3).
It is the carnival of worldly curiosity, of seduction. Therefore, the Apostle also instructs his disciple with strong words, such as “urgent,” convince, rebuke,” “exhort”, and then “be steady,” “endure sufferings” (vv. 2.5).
The tendency to seek novelties, proper to the human being, finds its ideal environment in the society of appearance, of consumption, in which often old things are recycled, but what is important is to make them seem new, attractive, captivating.
Truth is also made up. We move in the so-called ‘liquid society,’ without fixed points, without axes, deprived of solid and stable references, in a culture of the ephemeral, of usage and of discarding. Highlighted clearly in face of this worldly ‘carnival’ is the opposite scenario that we find in the words of Jesus, which we just heard: “Give glory to your Father who is in Heaven.”
And how can one pass from this pseudo festive superficiality to glorification? It is realized through the good works of those who, becoming disciples of Jesus, have become “salt” and “light.”
“Let your light so shine before men – says Jesus – that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in Heaven.” In the midst of yesterday’s and today’s ‘carnival,’ this is the answer of Jesus and of the Church, this is the solid support in the midst of a ‘liquid’ environment: the good works we can do thanks to Christ and to His Holy Spirit, and which gives birth in the heart to gratitude to God the Father, praise, or at least to the question” ‘Why,’ ‘Why does that person behave like this?’, disquieting the world in face of the testimony of the Gospel.
However, for this ‘shakeup’ to happen, salt must not lose its taste and the light must not be hidden (cf. Matthew 5:13-15).
Jesus says it very clearly: if salt loses its taste, it’s no longer useful. Alas if salt loses its taste! Alas a Church that loses her taste! Watch out for a priest, a consecrated person, a Congregation that loses its taste!
Today, we give glory to the Father for the work that Saint Dominic carried out, full of the light and salt of Christ, 800 years ago; a work at the service of the Gospel, preached with the word and with life; a work that, with the grace of the Holy Spirit, has helped so many men and women to not be dispersed in the midst of the ‘carnival’ of worldly curiosity, but who instead savoured the taste of healthy doctrine, the taste of the Gospel and became in turn light and salt, craftsmen of good works … and true brothers and sisters that glorify God and teach [others] to glorify God with the good works of life.”
(Translated from the original Italian)