“Hmmm! That’s it!” overheard from a chef, having just added a pinch of salt to the white sauce simmering in his copper pot.

A farm-raised senior remembers how her mother packed garden cabbages in salt and cured meats before storing them in their root cellar for their winter table.

Stories of salt, critical for human survival, abound in every civilization, as seasoning, as preservative, as a disinfectant for wounds, as a unit of exchange. Control over salt beds has provoked numerous wars in all times. In our country, access to salt affected the outcomes of the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. And in 1877, the dried lake beds at the foot of the Guadalupe Mountains in San Elizario, Texas sparked an unwinnable controversy among the Mexicans and Anglo- and African-Americans.

On a deeper level, however, salt stimulates spirit growth. Without it, we become listless, vulnerable to disease, adhering to the tried and proven path. Change is out of the question. Spiritual Masters decry such stagnation and urge arduous practices of cleansing, of clearing out the old, effecting the total reeducation of our thoughts and choices.

One of these Masters is Jesus of Nazareth who still salts his adherents with counter-cultural stances: poor in spirit, meek, mournful, merciful, clean of heart, peacemakers, open to suffering, and hungering for what is right. With such seasoning, we do make a difference in the conflicted world around us.

What if everyone acted upon Jesus’s teaching: “Have salt in yourselves and be at peace with one another?” (Mark 7:50)