When our words give life and freedom

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September 1, 2020 – Tuesday of the 22nd Week in Ordinary Time

Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/090120.cfm)

Homily

Our words to another person can become destructive or can become uplifting and life-giving. Those who silently suffer from verbal abuse at home, at school or at work would look at herself or himself terribly. The emotional stress and psychological trauma could affect the entire perspective of a person about himself or herself and about others. Such negativity makes a person to have a low self-esteem, to be depressive, angry and hateful towards himself/herself or/and towards others.

However, a person who receives enough affirmations, constructive corrections, good counsel and advises from credible and people of good example would tend to become more hopeful and positive in life.

This tells us how our words play an important part in our development in emotional or psychological and spiritual aspect of our life. Thus, the readings today convey to us how our words can transform the lives of others and of our community.

The first letter of Paul to the Corinthians tells us how the Spirit of God inspires us to understand the Word of God, “to understand the things freely given us by God.” As a community of faith, we speak on the mysteries of God revealed to us not with words taught by human wisdom, which is limited and can be self-centered, but with words taught by the Spirit which is life-giving and liberating.

This is how we find the words in the Bible to be always uplifting and inspiring because they are filled with the Spirit of God. In the same way, a parent who lovingly corrects a child for the wrongdoing the child does and without condemnation and insult, builds the character of the child to become a good and better person.

Such powerful and life-giving words are also heard in our Gospel today. The Gospel of Luke tells us of the experience of the people from Capernaum, a town in Galilee. Jesus who taught the people in the synagogue found him different from the Scribes and Pharisees. Jesus spoke with authority not just with knowledge and familiarity of his teachings. Jesus spoke from the heart, from the wisdom of God that intends to give life to the people.

Hence, the people found life in his teachings, in his words. This was more manifested when Jesus encountered a man with the spirit of an unclean demon. Through the words of Jesus, that demon was made quiet and was commanded to come out of the man. That demon was surely oppressive to the man by taking out the voice of the person. The person was made a slave by that demon. Yet, through his encounter with Jesus the man was given a chance to be freed and to be healed. Indeed, this is the effect when words give life and freedom.

Thus, at the words of Jesus, the demon came out of the man without doing any harm to the person. This tells us again how those words of Jesus truly brought life, freedom and healing because Jesus’ intention was of kindness and his words were out of generosity.

Today, Jesus also calls us to find healing, life, and freedom in his words and presence in the scriptures and in our Sacraments. Hopefully, what we find and receive will also be transmitted into our life that we ourselves will become life-giving and instruments of freedom.

It would be good then to examine our words and our encounters with people today.

Let this be the object of our discernment today. Are my words and presence life-giving or condemning? Am I giving freedom or condemnations? Are my words filled with hatred and anger or peace and kindness?

If we find that our words and presence express more of condemnation, and judgments, of hate and bitterness, allow Jesus to transform us. Allow Jesus to cast out the demon in us that oppresses us and oppresses other. Allow Jesus’ words to make free and at peace so that we too shall learn in giving words to others that are filled with love, life and freedom. Hinaut pa.

Jom Baring, CSsR

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