Saturday, 23rd Week in Ordinary Time          

            Listen to the person talk and you will eventually learn what that person is all about. (James L. Menapace) Given enough time our words are a very good indicator of who we really are.

            Jesus, in today’s gospel reading, says, “A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.” A person with a good heart speaks good wordswords that are genuine, honest, sincere, and meaningful, words that give affirmation and appreciation, words that encourage and uplift the disheartened, words that heal the wounded and restore the broken, words that forgive and reconcile and unite. “By their fruits you will know them.” How true that really is!

            Yes, words have the power to help, to heal, to encourage, and to strengthen. But the opposite can also happen. Insulting and cursing words can create animosity and hostility. Sharp words can cut down and destroy friendships. Hurtful words can break up marriages and families.

            All of us can remember some heartbreaking words from our early days and we still feel the pain. That is why our words to each other should be words of goodness and kindness, of affirmation and appreciation, rather than words of criticism, fault-finding, and blame. Words like: “I was wrong and you were right” or “Please forgive me” are hard words to say. But when they are true, they need to be said. Words like: “Thank you and I appreciate what you have done” are special words that should be said often instead of taking people for granted. Words like: “Yes, I understand and I feel for you,” “Yes, I am listening and I am hearing what is troubling you,” “Yes, I will be there whenever you need me.”

            Jesus’ best words to us are: “The kingdom is within you. God’s Spirit is there.” We are to know from those words the goodness in our hearts, our dignity as sons and daughters of a loving God and live accordingly… live as God’s beloved! We are to speak words of good news to one another.

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