March 2-3, 2019
From Fr. Anthony Ligato
Sound Advice from the Scriptures?
Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ,
In years past, people would write to advice columnist such as Dear Abby and Ann Landers seeking advice on life and love. Today people go to websites and blogs to get their advice. Frankly speaking that advice is often not sound and reliable advice. People often share in an inappropriate way on these blog sites and there is no one to filter their words, words that people later will regret putting out there.
The scripture readings for this Sunday provide us with great advice that is sound and reliable which will truly help us to experience a total and complete conversion, spiritually, emotionally and physically. The readings guide us in actions, behavior, speech and the disposition of the heart. Consider the atmosphere of our culture and society today, people are rude, vulgar and course. Our actions have brought physical hurt to others through the violence anarchy we see on our streets. Our behaviors have wounded others through sins of omission and sins of commission. We no longer respect one another, and this is clearly seen in the language we use toward one another and language we are exposed to today. How often have you been out and about and have heard some of the most vulgar words in the English language being spoken out loud by people who are expressing themselves? With children and other adults often in ear shot of those who use this type of vulgar language could care less and if you say anything you open yourself up to a tirade of similar vulgar words coming your way. People who otherwise are good hearted people all of the sudden today have become hard hearted toward one another because we may disagree politically with one another. But now it goes beyond politics and its effects religion, race and ethnic differences. Hard hearts do not care about how actions, behavior and speech affect others, they only care about getting their own way.
The Book of Sirach reminds us of the gift of speech, “The fruit of a tree shows the care it has had; so too does one’s speech disclose the bent of one’s mind. Praise no one before he speaks, for it is then that people are tested.” (Sirach 27:47) Our speech is an invitation to others to our soul and the soul reveals the reverence and respect we have for God and in light of that respect for God how we truly respect one another. If we are concerned about the image we are presenting to others, we should be concerned about our speech. Our speech is not only heard but read. What kind of speech are we using on Facebook, twitter, in our text messages and emails? Do they reflect the image of Christ in our lives? No matter how right we might believe ourselves to be, we have no right to attack one another on social media. If we want to reflect the image and likeness of our creator, we have to reflect the sacredness of the Word made flesh. As Sirach tells us our speech becomes the measurement by which people judge us.
Jesus in the final words of his Sermon on the Mount from Luke 6:3945; tells us not to be judgmental, critical or foolish. Jesus tells us we need to communicate with one another and that we can never know someone motivation for their behavior simply by observing their actions. He tells us we need to speak to them and listen to them. “No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:40) These are powerful words that causes us to reflect and discern if our actions, behavior and speech reflect the image and likeness of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus is merciful, he does not judge but gives us the ability to repent. Jesus does not condemn rather he gives us the ability to be forgiven. St. Paul reminds us in the second reading from 1Corinthians 15:5458 that we called to reflect the image of incorruptibility through the actions, behavior and speech in our lives, “Therefore my beloved brothers and sisters, be firm, steadfast, always fully devoted to the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
Important words for us to reflect on as we prepare to enter the Lenten season this coming Wednesday. Let us allow our prayer to affect our actions. Let us allow our fasting discipline our behavior and let us make our speech a true offering and almsgiving to Christ and one another.
Yours in Christ,