Fr Noel's Homilies

Buzz-word - EVANGELISE
To-day I use the word in its broadest sense of 'making known". There are many ways in which a person can make Christ known - we can communicate by deed or word, written or spoken. One of the great gifts which the great majority of people have is the gift of speech. In its use we quickly demonstrate our Christian personality; and our reflection to-day is on how do we use this gift so that people may easily discern our Christian committment "to make known", particularly in our ordinary conversations.

Nehemiah 8:1-10 - concerns itself with making known God's message. The priest Ezra had the task of guarding the Scriptures and instructing the people in them, maintaining a constant tradition from Moses through succeeding generations. It would seem that peoples' attention span was greater then than to-day - from early morning to noon he instructed them!

1 Cor. 12:12-30 - The epistle continues St. Paul's discussion with the Corinthians about the different roles people have within the Christian community, but all with the same obligation of making known the Lord.

Gospel Luke 1:1-4; 4:14-21 commences with the author explaining his reasons for writing an account of Christ's life and teaching so that, down the track, there should be no ambiguity about who and what Christ is. He is the Anointed One to be made known to all and sundry - to the poor, the captive, the intellectually blind

Intro: We spend a great deal of time in discussion; many arguments are advanced, and a great deal of energy is spent in the process. We find discussions being conducted almost everywhere - at home, in the office, on the work site, in the bar and, all too frequently, all that results is that differences are widened. Often we become excited and angry; we hurt each other's feelings and create divisions. Why? After all, it is through words that we mainly communicate with each other and reveal what we really are; and if we see speech as yet another of God's gifts, then surely we ought to recognise that speaking is a serious matter requiring us to weigh our words in the sight of God. A very short but very practical guideline for good communications has been given by St.James in his epistle -"Be quick to listen and slow to speak". So frequently what is intended to be conversation - a turning over of ideas resulting in exchange - is nothing but interrupted monologue in which each person busily frames his words so as to be able to cut in at the first opportunity. Scant attention is paid to what the other is saying. Another problem presents itself in conversation where one tries to corner the other, even trying to put words in the other's mouth! In this way conversation is reduced to a conflict of personalities and, far from achieving an exchange, each is left more firmly entrenched in his or her own view.Particularly is this true where religion or politics are discussed. Part of our Christian response involves not only hearing the word of God, but also of making it known. Naturally, this is done mainly by example; but there are times when we are called on to explain by word of mouth the reasons for our beliefs and practices. It is then that we encounter difficulty. So many are ill prepared for this side of their Christian response.It appears that whilst recognising that all other forms of information need to be built on after school days, many seem to think that in matters relating to their faith what they learned at school is adequate. We know that it is not. We need to read regularly Catholic literature, expand our knowledge through adult education courses, and, hopefully,at our weekly Mass, hear informative homilies based on the Scriptures.Looking at other ways in which we use this gift of speech, it is remarkable that such opposite results can be achieved; we use it to bless and we use it to curse. We can use it to create or we can use it to destroy. Just as a small spark can ignite a forest,so the tongue, such a small part of the body, can have dramatic impact on relationships. Then, of course, there are those other occasions, all too numerous, when we tarnish this gift by using hollow words that do not reflect God's purpose - the sarcastic jibe, the tatty little piece of gossip which adds pain to an already difficult situation, the profane and obscene expression. In conclusion, let me refer you again to St. Jame's epistle in which he cautions on what a dangerous member the tongue is and how difficult it is to control. He compares it with the bit with which we control the horse or the rudder with which a ship is steered. Take time to read it ocasionally. (James 3:3 -10)

Scriptural reference:" If we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we guide their whole bodies. Or look at ships: though they are so large that it takes strong winds to drive them, yet they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great exploits. How great a forest is set ablaze by a small fire! And the tongue is a fire...... For every species of beast and bird, of reptile and sea creature, can be tamed and has been tamed by the human species, but no one can tame the tongue--a restless evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless the Lord and Father, and with it we curse those who are made in the likeness of God.] From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this ought not to be so. (James 3:3 -10)