“All spoke well of him, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth.” (Luke 4:22)
Words are not just sounds, they are powerful. As human beings, one of the ways we share in the image of God is our ability to produce intelligible and meaningful words with our mouths. Just as God spoke creation into existence, our words can change lives, alter destinies, and shape the course of history. Given the enormous power in our words and their efficacy in making things happen, it is only a matter of wisdom that we carefully select our words always.
Just as words are capable of creating, they are also capable of destroying so when we speak. The saying goes that fools speak just because they have to say something but wise people speak only when they have something to say. If you must speak, make say you are speaking the truth and your actions do not, later on, contradict your words. In other words, only say what you mean and mean what you say.
St. John tells us in today’s First Reading: “If any one says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.” (1 John 4:20) It is not enough to say the right words, we must be sure to back up our words with action. Words are powerful but actions speak louder. Practice integrity of speech.
Like Jesus did in today’s Gospel passage, learn to use only gracious words in addressing others. In truth, the kind of words we use say a lot about who we are. Avoid foul or vulgar language, avoid using angry words (insulting others or issuing curses) even when you feel unhappy, disappointed or humiliated. As St. James would say: “Let every man be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.” (James 1:19)
Your mood can always change but you can never take back your words. Even in the heat of your pain, ensure your words are edifying. St. Paul teaches us: “Let no evil talk come 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.” (Ephesians 4:29). Choose your words properly. Think before you speak and speak only after you have thought about it. St. Peter adds: “As each has received a gift, employ it for one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: whoever speaks, as one who utters oracles of God.” (1 Peter 4:10-11)
Jesus spoke so well that all his listeners began to speak well of Him. The people wondered at the gracious words which came from his mouth. The Good News is that Jesus wasn’t simply a smooth talker who speaks just to make people feel good; Jesus meant exactly what He said: “Today, this scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” What kind of words do I use? Am I committed to saying the truth at all time? Do I follow them up with the right actions? Are my words gracious and uplifting to anyone who hears me?
Even if you have nothing to offer God, there is one thing you have in abundance; it is your ability to sing the praises of God. Offer to God the gift your speech.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, teach me to use the right words always. Amen
Bible Study: 1st John 4:19-5:4, Psalm 72 and Luke 4:14-22).