Rev. Fr. Tristan Jasper D. Laforteza
Words have power
While I was having my Clinical Pastoral Education in a hospital, I met a patient who changed the way I look at suffering. He was at his 4th stage of lung cancer yet he was joyful and content despite his worst condition. Such curiosity made me ask, “How are you able to maintain a joyful and positive disposition in the middle of pain?” He smiled and said, “Cancer may be powerful enough to conquer and destroy my body but weak enough to destroy my mind and heart.” I was sincerely touched by his words and they have inspired me not to give up whenever I feel weak to face difficulties in life.
Words are powerful that can make a person better or worst. Kind and inspiring words can bring comfort and motivate a person to fulfill his goals in life. While rude and tactless words can be destructive. Hence, words are effective instruments to influence the physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects of both the speaker and the listener. The readings this Sunday give importance to spoken words as they provide us with strong points to build a positive impact in the lives of people.
Point #1 STORE UP GOOD VALUES. The First Reading emphasizes that creating a storeroom of good values is necessary since good and positive words come out straight from our hearts and minds. They are sensible, audible expressions of what we treasure the most. As it is written in the Book of Sirach, “Its fruit discloses the cultivation of a tree; so a person’s speech discloses the cultivation of his mind. Do not praise anyone before he speaks, for this is the way people are tested.” (Sir. 27:6-7). Indeed, it would be very easy to speak of something that we are truly convinced about. Hence, if our hearts harbor anger and hatred, our conversation would be most likely about revenge and blameworthy criticisms. But, if humility and affection fill up our hearts, then we would love to speak about encouragement and beauty. If our minds are filled with conceit then our speech would reflect ill motives and deception. But if our minds seek the good of others, we would speak with sincerity and truth. This reading invites us to embrace the Will of God consciously from the heart and to desire to be a good person. Thus, let goodness be the core of our personality and character.
Point #2 STAY CONNECTED TO GOD. The Second Reading affirms that prayer and Bible reading purify our intentions in everything we say and do.
When we pray, we seek guidance from God. It is the time when we lift up to God all our concerns about our relationships, circumstances and activities we are dealing with. God’s Word says, “Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, because you know that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.” (1 Cor. 15: 58). Moreover, reading from the Bible will shape our thoughts and words. The stories in the Bible encourage us that we are not alone in doing good through positive words.
Surely, every day will not be as perfect as how we wish it to be. There were instances when I felt guilty of the careless words I uttered. I should have been sensitive of the feelings of others. Hence, if don’t start the day with God, I won’t get the right disposition to deal with people as a priest. We can be distracted from our goal to do good when people annoy us. At some point, we may lose control of our emotions that may hurt others unintentionally. Consequently, we fail to practice the values we say we have.
Point #3 PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH. In the Gospel, Jesus said, “Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Friend, let me take out the speck in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.” (Lk. 6:42). Whenever we give advice or opinion to others, we need to check ourselves first if we are practicing the principles that we share. If we want people to believe in what we say, they should see these principles manifested in our lives. Otherwise, our words will simply be superficial and a showcase of mere hypocrisy. The way we live our daily lives and the way we respond to circumstances reveal the values we hold dearly and the kind of connection we have with God.
(You can reach me through my email: email@example.com)