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8th Sunday of the Year – C   

8th Sunday of the Year – C

 

Dear friends in Christ,

 

In today’s first reading, Sirach proclaims God’s wisdom and offers this practical advice: “Praise no man before he speaks, for it is then that men are tested.”

Fr. Charles Miller writes about human language, saying, “Human language is the gift of God since it flows from the truth that we are made in the image and likeness of God. From all eternity God himself utters a Word. That Word we know from revelation is his divine Son. All our human words, no matter what the language, are a sharing in the one Word of God.”

The author of Proverbs gives this warning: “Where words are many, sin is not wanting; but he who restrains his lips does well.” It is so because by words, we publicly open our inner selves and reveal our heart’s goodness as well as our faults, our mistakes, even our sins, and the ability of our minds. James writes in his Epistle: “Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak.” And Paul strongly tells us: “Let no evil talk comes out of your mouths, but only such as is good for edifying, as fits the occasion, that it may impart grace to those who hear.”

Today’s Gospel is Jesus’ teaching about right attitude and right priority in using language as a gift of God: “A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.”

Trying to correct our words without changing our hearts is like trying to produce good fruit from a bad tree. Lent will be here in a few days and it is time for all to learn how to use this gift from God. As Christians we should speak in such a way that people who hear us speak could sense that we speak as Jesus did and could rightly respond, “Thanks be to God.”

 

Fr. Joe