8th SUNDAY OF THE YEAR, (3RD MARCH 2019)
THEME: OUT OF THE ADUNDANCE OF THE HEART THE MOUTH SPEAKS
(1st R. Sirach 27:4-7; 2nd R. 1 Cor. 15:54-58; Gosp. Lk.6:39-45)
Fault- finding, destructive criticism, rash judgment and gossiping can do enormous harm. A lot of good can be done through words; and a lot of mischief that vexes this world arises from words. Therefore Sirach asks us to guard our tongue and adds, ‘Speech is a test of a person and reveals the bent of the mind’. We are challenged to speak words that could inspire, encourage, motivate, correct and heal.
Both Jesus’ statement “Out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks” and the words of Sirach emphasize the importance of spoken words (Speech). Through speech, God gave human beings the ability to communicate what is in the mind. It befits us, therefore, to have a heart that is watered by the words of Jesus so that our speech will be edifying because speech can be edifying if it flows from an internal disposition that is free from evil and malice.
Daily we meet people whose hopes, like withered leaves, fall fast. Do our words uplift their spirits? Do we encourage people who are downhearted, especially those who carry thorn in their flesh? Are we appreciative and grateful with our words, to God and to one another at least through a sincere “Thank you”? Do we speak out of conviction, or are our words smoother than butter while there is war in our heart and our words softer than oil but they are drawn swords?
The words of Jesus in the gospel of today invites us to self-criticism ‘Remove the wooden beam from your eye first, then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s or sister’s eye’ (Lk. 6:42). Self-criticism purifies the heart and makes one less judgmental of others. It is another way of watering the heart so that the words that proceed from the mouth will be edifying. If we must speak words that edify the community, we ought to rid ourselves of pride and be more introspective. If we do not first look inward we continue to speak words that destroy rather than words that build up. In our use of words, let us always remember that, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Lk. 6:45). As a good tree produces good fruit so a good heart produces goodness; a kind heart speaks kind words. A confirmed gossiper is an untrustworthy person for in gossip confidences are revealed. May God give us the grace to speak kind words, become good persons with goodness that is real and authentic.
STORY: But it was a good show!
A particular family returned from Sunday Service, the father criticized the sermon of the pastor, daughter thought the choir’s singing was atrocious, and the mother found fault with the organist’s playing. The small boy of the family piped up, “But it was a good show for 50 percent, don’t you think, Dad?”
(6th March- ASH WEDNESDAY- Lent begins).