Fr Noel's Homilies

Buzzword - Words! Words! Words!
How true it is that, sometimes, "silence speaks more loudly than words". In a world so filled with words, today€™s readings come as a useful reminder to look at the manner in which we use our gift of speech. Particularly the first and the third readings in which the truth is emphasised - our words reveal us for what we are.

Sirach 27: 4-7: Sirach gives good advice - you want to know a person as he or she really is? Listen to his or her conversation.!

1 Cor: 15: 54-58: Here we read the concluding passage of St. Paul€™s First Letter to the Corinthians. Christ€™s [power over sin and death has been established by His resurrection; and this serves as a guarantee for our own rising with Him.

Luke 6: 39-45: St. Luke only adds to the advice given by Sirach - a teacher can only teach what he himself has first learned. As there is good and bad in everyone, we should be reluctant to criticise in a destructive manner.

Point 1: I doubt whether the most sophisticated computer could estimate, let alone calculate accurately, the number of words that assail us daily. There are the TV and the Radio gurus, the editorial pundits, the self styled authorities on everything who man the talk-back shows, not to mention the odd priest or minister having his two cents worth! It would appear that many of them are quite happy to put their mouths in gear, but leave their brains in neutral. Ben Johnson, English essayist of the 16th century, had this to say of such people -"Those that merely talk and never think.... Talking and eloquence are not the same: to speak, and to speak well, are two different things. A fool may talk, but a wise man speaks". Do you remember the exasperation felt by poor Eliza Doolittle in "My Fair Lady" as she complained -" Words, words, words! I€™m so sick of words! Is that all you blighters can do"?

Point 2: One can only hope that the Good Lord will not be asking the same question of us when our time for assessment arrives. Publius, a Roman author in the first century before Christ echoes the thoughts of Sirach expressed in today€™s reading - "speech is a mirror of the soul; as a man speaks, so is he!"; and he added -"I have often regretted my speech, never my silence". This seems to say much the same thing as our common phrase frequently heard after making a faux pas -"I could have cut my tongue out"!

Conclusion: Saying is one thing! Doing is another. Part of our Christian response is to ensure that our words are revealed in our actions. Today, our Christian culture - traditions and practices - are under relentless attack by the secularists. These attacks cannot only be answered by words, books, seminars, conferences and discussion groups. Fine words must be reflected in good deeds.

Scriptural reference: I tell you, on the day of judgment you will have to give an account for every careless word you utter; for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned." (Matt. 12: 36-37)