Feb. 19, 2016 Friday: 1st Week in Lent C
I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be liable to judgment, and whoever says to his brother, “Raqa,” will be answerable to the Sanhedrin… Matthew 5: 22
A young man regularly mowed the pastor’s lawn. One day the boy announced that he would no longer be able to mow the lawn as he was leaving for college. The pastor asked if he knew anyone who would be interested in the job. The young man drew a blank, but did offer to sell his mower to the pastor. The pastor agreed.
Checking up on the pastor the next day, the young man noticed the pastor pulling at the cord of the mower. The pastor called over in desperation, “How do you get this thing started?” “Oh, I’m sorry. I forgot to tell you,” the young fellow apologized. “You have to cuss at the mower before it will start.” The minister blushed, “I don’t think I can do that. Besides it has been a long time since I’ve used any cusswords. I wouldn’t even know how to start.” “Don’t worry,” laughed the young man, “you keep pulling that rope long enough and those cuss words will come right back to you!”
Jesus is quite demanding. He warns us that if we use abusive words towards our neighbor we will be liable to judgment. Ouch! It seems extreme. After all, it is only words, right? But words reveal what lies in our heart. Unwittingly we may have gotten careless with our language. Foul language is all around us. Never mind the assault we can receive from the dialogue in movies, but it is now commonplace on TV, radio and in daily conversation. We probably have become immune to it. Jesus knows that what is on our lips originates from our heart. Clean heart, clean tongue. Lent is a good time to be watchful of our tongue and not let those old habits slip out.
Lord, you told us that blessed are the pure of heart and therefore I want to have a pure heart. I want in my speech to speak kindly. May my words rise up to you and give you glory.
-Fr. Thomas Connery, Traveling Light