One day Jesus said, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks” (Mt 12:34). It’s easy to notice when someone speaks without feeling, without heart, without love for others. We also notice when someone speaks to us with love, for our own good. We’re grateful for the warm and welcoming words that make our lives more bearable—words that give us hope.
If our words don’t flow from love for others, we’d better bite our tongues. If our words aren’t full of respect and esteem for people, it’s better to remain silent. If our words aren’t going to do good to others, it’s better not to speak. It’s love that gives value and strength to words.
St. Paul says, “If I speak in the tongues of mortals and of angels, but do not have love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Cor 13:1). When our words don’t come from a heart that loves, we do harm to our brothers and sisters, we ruin relationships, and we help to create an atmosphere of suspicion and fear.
In our society, we need to have a new manner of speaking, without hatred and lies; speech that is distinguished not so much by its theoretical content or its rhetorical elegance; speech that springs from compassion and solidarity.
How much we need leaders who are free of selfishness, ambition, and bureaucracy—who feel the pain of the people and who know how to listen! There is an urgent need for leaders who speak to the people with truth, affection, and respect and who generate hope with their words. There is an urgent need for leaders who not only speak but who spend their lives dedicated to working for the common good of society without selfishness or personal ambitions.
The authority of Jesus’ word is confirmed and reaches its highest dimension when he frees the man in the synagogue from the evil that dominated him and gives him back the dignity he had lost.
Our inner wounds, our weaknesses, our sins, and fears don’t go unnoticed by Jesus. He wants us to be healthy and free. With the authority of his word, he wants to free us from the inhuman and worldly spirits that diminish and destroy us. In this Eucharist, let’s ask Jesus for his love and his word to remove all evil from our hearts and to grant us inner serenity and abundant hope for life.
Silvio José Báez, O.C.D.
Auxiliary Bishop of Managua
Homily, Fourth Sunday in Ordinary Time (excerpts)
31 January 2021
Translation from the Spanish text is the blogger’s own work product and may not be reproduced without permission.