Michel de Verteuil
Following on the Beatitudes, this Sunday’s gospel adds some more insights into the qualities of the followers of Jesus. It does this through three images – salt, light (in two phases) and a city built on a hilltop.
It is a short passage which means that we can spend time on whichever of the images we are drawn to and go deeply into it. Even as we do this, we may find it necessary to refer to the others, as the three complement one another, painting the picture of a perfectly rounded person.
As always in the bible, the images are not static and we must discover the movement within them, two movements in fact – one of sin and one of grace. We identify with both movements – repent of the sin and celebrate the grace. In each case we choose who we are identifying with:
– Jesus and his followers;
– the people whose lives they touch;
– Jesus teaching the crowds from the mountain.
The passage is a teaching of Jesus but also a personal testimony revealing to us the kind of person he was, and still is, living in the “Jesus people” we meet. We celebrate them and allow them to challenge us both as individuals and as a Church community.
Verse 13a – “You are the salt of the earth”
Salt is an appropriate symbol of Christian living from different points of view; this text invites us to focus on one of these – it gives taste.
Remember people who have brought sparkle to your life (“the earth”), at a time when it had become drab.
Apply the image at different levels:
– the arrival of a new born baby brings reconciliation to a family;
– a family in distress is cheered up by the visit of a kindly parent, grandparent,
uncle or aunt;
– a manager or worker brings a new spirit of cooperation between management and labour.
– a newly elected leader injects idealism into public life;
We can apply the image to groups as well as to individuals:
– a new movement arises within a parish community or a neighbourhood;
– an NGO starts a community project which transforms a run-down neighbourhood;
– a new political party brings hope by campaigning against corruption or working for
– the Church is converted to the cause of the poor and becomes a force for radical change
We think of Jesus being “salt” for the Jewish religion of his time, bringing a humanity to it that was lacking. We remember him
– refusing to let the Pharisees intimidate his disciples;
– eating with sinners;
– so fond of feasting that he was accused of being a “drunkard” and “possessed”.
Remember when someone was Jesus for your community or family.
All these are stories of grace. The passage then raises another option, a story of sin: the salt becomes tasteless. The text evokes three aspects of the decline:
a) “Nothing can make it salty again.” Feel the hopelessness – “If he or she (or the community) acts like this, what hope is there for the rest of us?”
b) “It is good for nothing” – extreme pathos, “They had so much potential, now look at them!”
c) “It can only be thrown out to be trampled on by men”. Fallen heroes are looked down on in word and deed:
– a large church building once packed with worshippers is now empty;
– a great doctor is alone in his office;
– the seminary has a handful of students;
– the church is mocked because of clerical scandals;
– former nationalist leaders turned corrupt and now languish in prison.
We think of how the great Jewish religion became mean and narrow minded at the time of Jesus, a “loss of savour” which would recur many times in the history of church:
– the Crusades;
– theologians of the 16th century defending the ill treatment of the Indians;
– Christian churches not speaking out against segregation in the Southern United States and apartheid in South Africa;
– church leaders blessing armies (today again in the “war against terrorism”).
We celebrate bishops of today who “go up a hill and sit down” to challenge their fellow bishops to be “salt to the earth” by taking a prophetic stance against their governments, e.g. Bishop Gumbleton in the US, and Archbishop Ncube in Zimbabwe.
Verse 14a – The image of light: “You are the light of the world”
This image also presents a contrast, this time between “the light” and “the world”, understood as a place of darkness. We remember good people coming into our lives, like day dawning after a long night, or a rescuer arriving with a light when we had been plunged in darkness.
Here the text does not spell out the image, so we can be guided by our experience. We remember our feelings:
– clarity: we had been lost and confused, then we saw a way forward;
– joy driving away sorrow;
– hope: we saw possibilities where before we had seen none.
Verse 14b – “You are a city built on a mountain top”
The text brings out one aspect of the image – such a city cannot be hidden.
We are free to imagine the reasons why someone would want to “hide” it.
– From within, the community is afraid of publicity (“We will become an easy target”), or is over anxious (“Will our message get through?”).
– From outside, an enemy fears the consequences; a tyrant says, “If we let them get away with their freedom, others will want to follow”.
To all Jesus says “You won’t be able to stop it”. Remember when some person or event made you realise this (with fear or relief); that was Jesus speaking to you.
Verses 15 and 16 – second aspect of the image of light, more concrete than the first, a lamp hanging on a lampstand. We choose who we want to identify with – the owner? the lamp? the people in the house?
– Verse 15a – The sin option: the owner can put it under a tub, Feel the sadness. Imagine why owners would want to do that. As with the previous image it could be the fear of publicity and the accompanying criticism in case of failure.
In this case however, there is another possibility – selfishness. The owners hide the light under a tub because they want to keep it for themselves; they can impose charges or conditions on those who will use it. We think of
– the abuse of the notion of “intellectual property”;
– resources like water, light and minerals, kept in the hands of a few;
– the rules of international trade, preventing the free flow of natural goods.
Jesus’ teaching is a radical critique of the modern capitalist system.
– Verse 15b – The grace option: it shines for everyone in the house. Feel the relief that the light is no longer hidden under a tub. Celebrate the people who hang it on the lamp stand.
– Verse 16 – Application of the image.
16a: your light shines in the sight of all. The image must be interpreted in the light of the other images. Jesus is not advocating showiness or putting ourselves forward; this would go against the images of salt and the city on a mountain top both of which affect others merely by being what they are. We celebrate people who live their values in public but are humble at the same time.
16b: they see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Be imaginative in interpreting “glorify”. It does not necessarily refer to saying prayers. What it reminds us of is how good people dispel negativity, they make others (including those who belong to other Churches and religions) feel happy and hopeful – “life is worth living”, “there is a God!”. Celebrate the times when people (movements) had this effect on you.
“Be men and women of the world, but not worldly men and women.” … Jose Maria Escriva
Lord, we thank you for the people who have been as salt for us,
bringing life and joy to our lives
– Church communities.
Remembering them and their good works makes us glorify you, our Father in heaven.
Lord, we remember with immense sadness people who have ruined their lives
with alcohol, drugs, fanaticism.
We see them lying on the side of the road,
no one can bring them to be what we know they are capable of becoming;
people are trampling them underfoot.
Lord have mercy.
“The sons and daughters of the Church must return with a spirit of repentance for the acquiescence given, especially in certain centuries, to intolerance and even the use of violence in the service of the truth.” …Pope John Paul II, Tertio Millennio Adveniente
Lord, we ask forgiveness for the times, both past and present,
when your Church did reject the dominant values of its time
and was not salt to the earth.
No wonder idealistic people have scorned us,
trampling your people underfoot as Jesus foretold.
“The truth cannot impose itself except by virtue of its own truth as it wins over the mind with both gentleness and power.” …Vatican II, Declaration on Religious Freedom
Lord, in our modern Western culture
groups spend much time, money and energy on public relations.
We pray that we may not follow this trend in our efforts to attract more people to join us.
Help us to concentrate rather on being true to the best of ourselves,
remembering that a city built on a mountain top cannot be hidden.
“The world has enough to satisfy every person’s need, not enough to satisfy every person’s greed.” …Gandhi
Lord, forgive us that many people nowadays
see their talents as opportunities for making money.
They hide them under a tub
so that they can ration them out to the highest bidder.
The result is that your abundant gifts are not being shared.
We pray that your church may be the voice of Jesus in the world, reminding our contemporaries that you have lit lamps in the world,
not to be hidden under a tub,
but so that they can be put on a lampstand and shine on everyone in the house.
Introduction to the Celebration
2. This situation of Christians being a small, identifiable group within a larger society was taken for granted at the time the gospel was written, and indeed survived until well into the fifth century. Then, for more than a millennium, the situation that Christians experienced was radically different: the community and the Christian community became virtually coterminous. Indeed, the distinction between Christians / nonChristians was often replaced by the distinction of ‘ church’ (meaning the clergy, sometimes formally established as an estate) / state or the distinction of altar / crown. Now, with the occasional exception, that identification of church community and larger society has disappeared. We still hear people referring to ‘Christian countries’ but they just mean background culture, while we as Christians should be quick to deny that simply belonging to a country can be seen as being part of the body of Christ.
3. However, we are left with a few conundrums. First, we have little experience of being a sub-group within society; and we are often far happier thinking of ourselves as the group that gives form to society. Second, we have many mechanisms/ practices in our communal behaviour / pastoral strategies that served us well when we as the Christian community and we as a secular society were almost identical; but little by way of experience in being a servant of the larger society.
4. Just noting this new, or relatively new, situation, and helping people to recognise it as a factor in how they think of themselves, is a first step today.
5. Only when we can think of ourselves as having many ‘belongings’ can we think of how we, in a particular community, can be of service. We have to learn to steer between three sets of rocks. First, the Christians cannot separate themselves out from society at large as if they are an elect sect, ‘the saved’. This is an option that many sects have taken over the centuries, but it ignored the fact that the whole universe is the creation of the Father. The Christ’s love and forgiveness reached out to all, and we are called help the society give praise to the Father, not to abandon it. The second danger is to imagine that there is no distinction between the values of the larger society and that of the community of the church; life is simple if the Christians just disappear and adopt the current trends. We have a distinctive vision that the universe is good, it is loved by the Father, and there is the good news that can transform how we view life. The third set of rocks is to imagine that we can only relate to a society that signs up in detail to our vision. We must work with all people of good will, knowing that the Spirit is always at work before us, beyond our reach, and in ways we cannot see.
5. We are called today – in every place in the developed world to learn an aspect of being Christians that, for the most part, never even bothered our parents or grandparents. But part of the good news is that in every learning curve there is the Spirit’s presence to be called upon to bring light in our darkness.
What is the light of Christ? The light of Christ is our guiding light. We feel secure in the light of Christ as it directs us through life. It is the teaching of Christ that motivates us to live in imitation of him. The light of Christ is God sharing his life and love with us. It is the life of Christ that is shared with us in the Eucharist: the living bread that has cone down from heaven giving life to the world.
The light of Christ offers people meaning and hope. It highlights the love that can be found in the goodness of life. It challenges us to live God-like lives, lives without sin. It offers us consolation and reassurance because it assures us that Christ is near at all times.
We are as much disciples of Jesus as those to whom he spoke in the gospel. Each one of us is being challenged to be the light of the world. But we are also being commissioned collectively, as members of Christ’s Church, to be the light of the world. We are the light of the world when we are decent and respectful towards other people and when we live according to the teaching of Christ and his Church. We are invited to see in a new light.
Seeing in a new light is about seeing in a new perspective, God’s perspective. It is about behaving in a different way. Therefore, let us see in a different light and let our light shine in people’s sight, so that, seeing our good works, they may give praise to our Father in heaven.
You are the light of the world. (Mt 5:14)
A big food of Jesus is the Eucharist. His bread of life can go stale unless we ‘salt’ it. We salt the Eucharist by our lives. We keep the Mass alive by the way we live.
The Eucharist is entrusted to us. God gives us his Son, his food, and leaves it to us how we live by it.
Jesus invites us to be the ‘salt of the earth’ – to be people whose lives are centred on helping others and making the places around us places of kindness, compassion, hope, fun and life. We don’t say ‘You’re salt of the earth’, if someone just receives communion. We are the salt of the earth if we live out our communion. The bread of Jesus is salted with the goodness of men and women, young and old, everywhere.
Our response then links in with the first reading – if we feed, shelter, clothe and help our neighbour, we are ‘the light that rises in the darkness’.
1. Andrew Greeley
1) We need to be the salt of the earth: a). As the salt of the earth, the Christian must be an example of purity in speech, in conduct, and even in thought. b) As the salt of the earth, the Christian must have a certain antiseptic influence on life and society, defeating corruption, fighting against injustice and making it easier for others to avoid sin. c) As salt preserves foods, we have to preserve the religious faith, Christian cultural values and moral principles, which Jesus has given us, and we need to work at reconciling the quarreling factions in families and communities. As the salt of the earth, we also have to add flavor to the lives of desperate people through outreach programs, to give meaning to the lives of people and boosting their morale, to offer them occasions to help others, and finally to give hope where there is no hope.
From Sermons now:
There are all kinds of theories about how to motivate people.
Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Don Sutton hadn't won a game in eight weeks. A critical press was suggesting that he be dropped from the starting lineup. The future looked bleak, and Sutton felt terrible. Then, before a game, Dodgers manager Walter Alston tapped him on the shoulder. "I'd like to speak with you, Don," he said. Sutton prepared himself for the worst.
"Don," said Alston, "I know how the past couple of months have been for you. Everyone's wondering whether we can make it to the play-offs . . . You know there's a lot of pressure . . . I've had to make a decision." Sutton had visions of being taken off the mound. Then Alston continued. "If the Dodgers are going to win this year," he said, looking Sutton in the eye, "they're going to win with Don Sutton pitching. Come what may, you're staying in the starting job. That's all I wanted to say."
Sutton's losing streak lasted two more weeks, but because of his manager's encouragement he felt different about it. Something in him was turning around. He found himself pitching the best ball of his career. In the National League pennant drive, he won 13 games out of 14.
There are all kinds of theories about how to motivate people. We can do it through guilt, through fear, through shame. But these were not Jesus' methods. Jesus motivated through positive messages of hope and encouragement.
Consider our lesson for today. Jesus says to his followers, "You are the light of the world. . . ."
There was a mother mouse who decided to teach her children about the world. So she gathered all of her little mice and set out for a walk. They walked down the hall and turned to the right. Then they went down the hall and took another right. And suddenly they found themselves in front of the family cat dozing in the sunlight. The mother mouse was scared. But she didn't want to give in to her fright. So she signaled to the children to be very quiet and to follow as she began to tip toe quietly and slowly past the sleeping cat. Just as she was about to get past the cat, the cat's eyes popped open and raised its paw.
It's the same way with us. It's good to know a second language. Salt and light are the language of God; the language of Grace; the language of hope and love. And when this language is translated into action it becomes the most beautiful language ever spoken. We're called to be salt and light and to speak the language of God as we live our faith. We're called to live the Word.
Billy D. Strayhorn, The Salt and Light Brigade
Reflect the Light
The reflectors illuminated the way for Nebres, who made his descent safely down the treacherous mountain road. The reflectors, however, were useless without his headlights shining on them. The light they gave depended on the light from another source. Otherwise they could not help him see.
When Jesus told his disciples they were the "light of the world," he meant they were to be reflectors of the light of God. God is the illuminating source. God provides the light that is reflected from us. And God needs us to be reflectors of God's light to a world of darkness.
Keith Wagner, Are We Hiding Our Faith?
The story is told of a little girl who went to visit her grandparents. It seems as though they held Sunday as the Lord's day, and holy. They thought it should be a day of quietness, to walk, not run in it, and that the Bible was the only book that should be read. The granddaughter could not swing nor gather the flowers that grew in the pasture. While grandpa was taking his nap, she asked for permission to walk to the gate, and received it. Along the fence she stopped to watch the old mule, standing with his head bowed and his eyes closed. Reaching through the fence, she said, "Poor old fellow, have you got religion, too?"
Unfortunately, that is how many view Christianity. They are completely turned off by the legalism which has crept in unawares. Worst of all, perhaps, is the fact that we Christians are guilty of thinking of it as a virtue, rather than a vice.
Bob Deffinbaugh, The Fatal Failures of Religion: #2 Legalism
"One night at the end of a special Saturday night worship service," writes Warren Hudson of Ontario, Canada, "a thunderstorm unleashed a bolt of lightning that plunged the church into darkness." With the congregation seated in total darkness, the pastor felt his way to the kitchen to find some candles. The pastor handed out the candles to everyone present. Persons lit their candles in much the same way as many churches do on Christmas Eve, each person lighting the candle of the person next to them. The worshipers then made their way through the church's winding hallways to the front door.
"Peering out, we could see the rain coming down in sheets," Warren remembers. With traffic snarled, people were running for the nearest shelter. Looking around they realized that the entire city was in darkness. "There in the darkness we stood," Warren writes, "a little band of Christians, each clutching a light, not sure whether to venture out into the storm or stay inside the church in hopes that the storm would soon blow over."
There in the darkness the light of truth struck him. In this most dramatic way he realized what it means to be the "light of the world." He writes, "It occurred to me then that this is the temptation I face every day. It is easy to play it safe and be a good Christian in church. It is a lot harder to venture out in faith into the storms of the world."
Warren Hudson, adapted by King Duncan, Collected Sermons, www.Sermons.com
Eric S. Ritz, Salty Christians
John Stott, from Great Britain and a leading Reformed theologian, has these challenging words to say to the church today:
You know what your own country is like. I'm a visitor, and I wouldn't presume to speak about America. But I know what Great Britain is like. I know something about the growing dishonesty, corruption, immorality, violence, pornography, the diminishing respect for human life, and the increase in abortion.
Whose fault is it? Let me put it like this: if the house is dark at night, there is no sense in blaming the house. That's what happens when the sun goes down. The question to ask is, "Where is the light?"
If meat goes bad, there is no sense in blaming the meat. That is what happens when the bacteria are allowed to breed unchecked. The question to ask is, "Where is the salt?"
If society becomes corrupt like a dark night or stinking fish, there's no sense in blaming society. That's what happens when fallen human society is left to itself and human evil is unrestrained and unchecked. The question to ask is "Where is the church?"
John Stott, adapted by Adrian Dieleman, The Salt of the Earth
"A man walked into a little mom-and-pop grocery store and asked, 'Do you sell salt?'
'Ha!' said Pop the proprietor. 'Do we sell salt? Just look!' And Pop showed the customer one entire wall stocked with nothing but salt. Morton salt, iodized salt, kosher salt, sea salt, rock salt, garlic salt, seasoning salt, Epsom salts, every kind imaginable.
'Wow!' said the customer.
'You think that's something?' said Pop with a wave of his hand. 'That's nothing! Come look.' Pop led the customer to a back room filled with shelves and bins and cartons and barrels and boxes of salt. 'Do we sell salt?' he said.
'Unbelievable!' said the customer.
'You think that's something?' said Pop. 'Come! I'll show you salt!' Pop led the customer down some steps into a huge basement, five times as large as the previous room, filled floor to ceiling, with every imaginable form and size and shape of salt, even huge ten-pound salt licks for the cow pasture.
'Incredible!' said the customer. 'You really do sell salt!'
'No!' said Pop. 'That's just the problem! We never sell salt! But that salt salesman? Hoo-boy! Does he sell salt!'"
Phil Thrailkill, The Privilege and the Price
From Fr. Jude Botelho:
In the first reading from Isaiah, the prophet speaks plainly about what is expected of the true believer. In earlier Jewish history, fasting and fast days were part of the liturgy, in which rich and poor ‘humbled’ themselves before God. The rich fasted and expected a divine reply in the form of greater prosperity. They asked why God did not answer their prayer. In today’s reading the prophet tells them that for fasting to be acceptable to God it must be meaningful. Genuine fast before God requires the social awareness and concern spelled out by the prophet. “Share your bread with the hungry, and shelter the homeless poor, clothe the man you see naked….then your light will shine like the dawn.” It is by such actions that genuine worship gives glory to God.
Be not simply good…
Alexander Solzhenitsyn recalls, as he says, ‘with shame’, an incident he witnessed when he was captain in the Russian army. “One day I saw a sergeant of the secret police on horseback, using a whip on a Russian soldier who had been captured serving in a German unit. The man, naked from the waist up, was staggering under the blows, his body covered in blood. Suddenly he saw me and cried out: “Mister Captain, save me!” “Any officer in any army in the world should have put a stop to this torture, but I was a coward. I said nothing, I did nothing. This picture has remained in my mind ever since.” He could have brought light into a dark situation but he didn’t. “Be not simply good”, says Thoreau, “be good for something.”
Flor McCarthy in ‘New Sunday and Holy Day Liturgies’
Today’s gospel speaks of the practical implications of being followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus uses simple images which would be easily understood by his Palestinian followers. “You are the salt of the earth… You are the light of the world.” His listeners knew how essential salt was in those days. In fact people traded in salt as they traded in silver and gold. Salt was essential to flavour and preserve food. Its absence in food was immediately noticeable. Light too played an essential function of enlightening, guiding, and making ordinary tasks possible. What Jesus is saying through these images is that his disciples have an essential function to play in the world. When Jesus spoke of letting our light shine among men he was not speaking of parading our good works, or of attracting attention to ourselves. Our good deeds should inspire others to do what needs to be done in their own lives. Our deeds do not have to be spectacular because even little deeds done regularly can make a difference in peoples’ lives. As Christians we have a very positive role to play in the world. Shedding light and witnessing to the light not only makes people see things clearly but it also puts our own life under the spot light; we can be vulnerable and exposed. Just as salt is worthless if it loses its saltiness and light is useless if it is kept under covers, so the Christian life is meaningless unless faith is witnessed in love and concern for others. Religion is no private affair between me and my God. Our lives have to impact others and lead them to God.
“Mr. Lincoln has left his lights on”
A mother and her small child once drove past the restored home of Abraham Lincoln in Springfield. It was night and the national shrine of the United States was brightly lit. “Look mama,” the child said excitedly, “Mr. Lincoln has left his lights on.” The mother smiled. “Yes” she replied; “he left them on for the whole world to see.” Although Lincoln has been dead since 1865, he is still a tremendous inspiration to all people. But in a much more true sense Christ, ‘God from God, Light from Light’ remains and will remain to the end the shining beacon for all peoples of all times. Christ has shared his light with us his disciples and asks us to be what we are: “the light of the world.”
As Dear as Salt
An aged king who had three sons decided to choose his successor. To test his heirs he inquired how much they loved him. “More than the world’s wealth!” exclaimed the first. The second declared. “Greater than all the wisdom the world holds!” The youngest said, “As dear as salt.” Infuriated, the king exiled him and bequeathed the kingdom to his eldest son. Later, fortune favoured the banished son and he became king in another faraway kingdom. But he missed his father and longed to meet him. Years later, he invited his father –very old by then – for a banquet and ordered that sumptuous dishes be prepared, but without any salt. When the old king came to the palace, his son pretended to be away and the courtiers requested the king to begin feasting. The aroma of the food pleased the king, but, when he tasted it, he was aghast- it was tasteless, saltless! Angry, he demanded an explanation for the insult. His son-king appeared in his regalia, and the old king recognized him, realizing his indiscretion. – Jesus tells you, today, that you are not only ‘as dear as salt’ but “You are salt! You are light!”
Francis Gonsalves in ‘Sunday Seeds for Daily Deeds’
“Are you God?”
Joe had always been a helpful neighbour and so the lady next door asked him if he could drive her little son to the hospital. Actually Joe had other plans but he did not know how to say no. So he sat the little boy into the car seat, fastened his seat belt, and started off on the 50-mile trip to the hospital. As they were driving along, the little boy slowly turned to Joe and asked, “Are you God?” Startled, Joe said, “No.” The boy continued, “I heard my mommy asking God for some way to get me to a doctor. If you are not God do you work for him?” Joe replied, “I guess so sometimes. And now that you ask, I will be doing it a lot more.” Gandhi said, “If I had ever met a genuine Christian, I would have become one immediately.” Jesus commanded that people must see our good deeds. Jesus did not say we should become the salt of the earth, but we are the salt of the earth. He was telling us the way He wanted to find us daily.John Pichappilly in ‘The Table of the Word’
Let your light shine
A poor Scottish farmer named Fleming heard a cry for help coming from a nearby bog and found a terrified boy, mired up to his waste in black muck. Fleming saved the child from what could have been a slow horrible death. The next day a fancy carriage pulled up at his home and an elegantly dressed nobleman stepped out and introduced himself as the father of the boy Fleming saved. “I want to repay you” said the nobleman for saving my son’s life.” “No I can’t accept payment for what I did.” said the Scottish farmer. At that moment, the farmer’s son came to the door of the family hovel. “Is that your son?” the nobleman asked. “Yes.” The farmer replied proudly. “I will make you a deal. Let me provide him with the level of education that my son will enjoy. If the lad is anything like his father, he will no doubt grow to be a man we both will be proud of.” And he did. Farmer Fleming’s son attended the very best schools and in time graduated from St. Mary’s Hospital Medical School, London University, and went on to become known throughout the world as the noted Sir Alexander Fleming, the man who discovered Penicillin. Years afterward, the same nobleman’s son who was saved from the bog was stricken with pneumonia. What saved his life this time? Penicillin. The name of the nobleman? Lord Randolph Churchill. His son’s name? Sir Winston Churchill. Let us be the salt of the earth; and let our light shine before others.John Pichappilly in ‘The Table of the Word’
“That’s a mistake!”
A young lady asked for an appointment with her priest to talk to him about a besetting sin about which she was worried. When she met him, she said, “I have become aware of a sin in my life which I cannot control. Every time I am at Church I begin to look at other women, and I realize I am the prettiest one in the whole congregation. None of the others can compare with my beauty. What can I do about this sin?” The pastor replied, “Mary, that’s not a sin, that’s just a mistake!”
John Pichappilly in ‘The Table of the Word’