Monday, December 1, 2014

The power of the spoken word

In today's gospel we have the story of the centurion whom we quote every time we celebrate mass

Lord I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof but only say the word and my servant shall be healed.

We apply them to ourselves and say "my soul shall be healed."

The centurion understands the power of Jesus's word because he understands the power of his own words.

And I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes;
and to another, ‘Come here,’ and he comes;
and to my slave, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

This raises an important question for us. Do we understand the power of our own words? We may not have slaves or soldiers at our command but our words are powerful. Going back to creation, the Old Testament understood the power of words as it tells us that God spoke and it came into being. John's Gospel extends this theme to Jesus, and calls him the LOGOS, the Word. The ultimate Word of God is the person Jesus Christ. The Word became flesh.

Words are understood to be like photons, little packets of power. The power of the words is proportionate to be power of the speaker. We may not think of ourselves as powerful people but we are.

Every word that comes out of our mouth carries with it that power. As parents, spouses, friends, co-workers, even when we speak to a stranger the words have power.

We can crush with a single word. Idiot. Moron. Nigger.
Or we can choose words that lift up: good, proud, thanks, please, love.

Like the word of Jesus our words too can heal or we can choose to wound. The centurion understood the power of the WORD because he understood the power of his own words

As we begin this new year, this season of advent perhaps each day we should pray Ps. 141:3

Set a guard over my mouth, O LORD, keep watch over the door of my lips!

Today's Readings