Pope Francis reflected May 23 on Jesus Christ's exhortation to be "salt of the earth," warning that Christians who do not live their faith become "flavorless salt" and are fit to be museum pieces.

The pontiff said that God gives Christians the "salt" of faith, hope and charity. This salt should not be hoarded "because if the salt is preserved in a bottle it does not do anything: it is good for nothing."

"We can show the salt: this is my salt – and how lovely it is! This is the salt that I received in Baptism, this is what I received in Confirmation, this is what I received in catechesis," he said. "But look: museum-piece Christians! A salt without flavor, a salt that does nothing."

The Pope's comments came in his homily during morning Mass at the chapel of St. Martha's residence in the Vatican, Vatican Radio reports. The day's gospel reading, from the Gospel of Mark's ninth chapter, contains Jesus' question to his disciples: "if salt becomes insipid, with what will you restore its flavor?"

Pope Francis said that faith preached with this salt helps others receive it according to their own individual circumstances, as when it is used judiciously on food.

"Each with his own peculiarities receives the salt and becomes better," he added. "The Christian originality is not a uniformity! It takes each one as he is, with his own personality, with his own characteristics, his culture –  and leaves him with that, because it is a treasure."

He said this "salt" also gives something more. "It gives flavor!" he said. "This Christian originality is so beautiful."

He said those who want everything to be salted in the same way risk a situation where a cook throws in too much salt.

"One tastes only salt and not the meal," he said. The Christian originality is this: each as he is, with the gifts the Lord has given him."

He urged Christians to "get out there with the message, to get out there with this richness that we have in salt, and give it to others."

The Pope said Christians may give this salt both in service to others and in service to God. The "salt" of faith also keeps its flavor through preaching, prayer and adoration.

"With the worship of the Lord I go beyond myself to the Lord, and with the proclamation of the Gospel I go out of myself to give the message," he said.

He repeatedly encouraged Christians to share their faith.

"Salt makes sense when you (use) it in order to make things more tasty," he said. "The salt that we have received is to be given out, to be given away, to spice things up. Otherwise, it becomes bland and useless."

He said Christians should pray that God not let them become "Christians with flavorless salt that stays closed in the bottle."