Kind words do not cost much. They never blister the tongue or lips. They make other people good-natured. They also produce their own image on men’s souls, and a beautiful image it is. - Blaise Pascal: (1623 – 1662: was a French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Christian philosopher)
Gospel Text: (Luke 4:31-3)
Jesus went down to Capernaum, a town of Galilee.
He taught them on the sabbath,
and they were astonished at his teaching
because he spoke with authority.
In the synagogue there was a man with the spirit of an unclean demon,
and he cried out in a loud voice,
“What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth?
Have you come to destroy us?
I know who you are–the Holy One of God!”
Jesus rebuked him and said, “Be quiet! Come out of him!”
Then the demon threw the man down in front of them
and came out of him without doing him any harm.
They were all amazed and said to one another,
“What is there about his word?
For with authority and power he commands the unclean spirits,
and they come out.”
And news of him spread everywhere in the surrounding region.
Words can amuse and anger, bless and course, charm and repel, heal and hurt, unite and sever. Words have power. Words change things.
Words gave birth to a new nation: “We hold these truths…” Words led to the death of millions in World War II: “Zieg Heil,”
Before an altar the words, “I do,” are spoken, and a man and woman become one in the sacrament of Marriage.
During Mass words are spoken over bread and wine: “This is my body. This is my blood.” And we adore the body and blood of Christ.
In the sacrament of Reconciliation, words are spoken: “I absolve you from your sins…” And a lifetime of guilt is removed.
In today’s gospel, Jesus spoke: “Come out of him.” And the unclean spirit left the possessed man. The people wondered, “What is there about his (Jesus’) word?”
Yes, there was power in Jesus’ words. And now, by baptism we are the living “words” of Jesus. He sends us forth, scattering us about as a farmer scatters seeds all over a field.
We are to choose carefully the words we speak. We are to choose words of love: “Welcome.” “How can I help?” “I believe in you.” “I’m sorry.” “I forgive you.” “Keep up the good work.” “Thank you.” “Tell me more.” “We can work this out.” “You’re beautiful.” “God bless you.”
If our words soothe and heal, give support and encouragement, build community and express the truth, Jesus’ power will continue to be manifested in our time through each of us.