Only two verses are left out between last week's Gospel reading and the one coming up. The parallel verses appear in the lectionary from Mark and Luke, but perhaps those who created the Revised Common Lectionary couldn't deal with the word "manure" being read in worship:
"34Salt is good; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? 35It is fit neither for the soil nor for the manure pile; they throw it away. Let anyone with ears to hear listen!" (Luke 14.34-35)
Matthew's version has this: 13"You are the salt of the earth; but if salt has lost its taste, how can its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything, but is thrown out and trampled under foot." (Matthew 5.13)
Mark has: "50Salt is good; but if salt has lost its saltiness, how can you season it? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another." (Mark 9.50
Matthew wants us to know that WE are the salt of the earth, to be seasoning for the whole. Mark wants us to have salt within us, and somehow Mark's salt makes us peaceful with one another. Bring some salt with you to your next contentious meeting!
But Luke alone tells us to have ears as Jesus speaks these words. How can salt lose its taste dear people? It can't. Salt is always salt. Dissolved in water, it is still salt. Cast onto the manure pile it is still salt. The salt God has placed in us even if it seems hidden or dissolved or its flavor covered over by sugar remains always. The great gift is this saltiness that can never be taken away from us.