|By Fr. Brendan McGuire
Pastor of Holy Spirit Parish, San Jose and Vicar General for special projects, Diocese of San Jose. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Actions Point to Words that Point to Christ
Sunday, December 11, 2016
Your words, whether written or spoken, have tremendous power. The right word said at the right time has the ability to lift somebody’s spirit on a bad day or moment. Equally, a badly chosen word at the wrong time can tear somebody down from the height of a great day. We can rip people down or lift them up; most of us know the power of words; even just a slight whisper can slash down or lift up.
It is amazing to see how we often we are oblivious to the power of words. We see it among school children in what they do or not do for each other. We also see it among ourselves; we certainly see it play out on the television or even in the newspaper of how easy words, whether done with intention or not, can do great damage or be great help. We can certainly acknowledge that this election season has seen more than it’s fair share of words, one way and the other!
Words are incredibly powerful indeed. There have been times in most of our lives when somebody said the right words to help us; or maybe we have used those words. Sometimes those words have hurt us or others.
But there is something even more powerful than words. It is when the words are matched by actions. When the actions back up the words then the power is phenomenal. We can see that in the life of Nelson Mandela; his words of forgiveness led to a nation inspired but his actions of reconciliation led to the real truth and reconciliation commission that brought their nation to an unfathomable peace that we never could have considered possible.
The person who has the most power is Jesus Christ because his words were more than just words; he had the actions that matched every single word. It wasn’t that he just gave words of healing; he also gave actions of healing. It wasn’t just words of reconciliation; he gave reconciliation from God. He embodied his words in totality.
As we get closer and busier with Christmas, how do we catch ourselves when we are about to use words that we know are not going to be helpful? How do we catch ourselves when we know we are going to do something that goes against what we believe and what we profess?
We need to be people of prayer. It is not enough to catch ourselves and reflect just once a week. We have to be able to catch ourselves every day and we have to pray every day about the events of that day.
The challenge is to not let the impatience of the season get upon us but to remain patient waiting for the Lord; to look for opportunities; to bring our words into action. We need to look for opportunities to be people of kindness and forgiveness. We need to look for opportunities to be a the loving presence of Christ.
Today, we put into action the very words of Christ in all we say and in all we do. And we hope we point to Christ.