The importance of speech – Homily for February 26th and 27th, 2022
Sirach says in our first reading that one’s speech disclose the bent of one’s mind. Jesus also references the importance of our speech in our Gospel. And the importance of our speech is mentioned in the letters of Saint Paul, Saint James, Saint John and others.
One of the things that the Bible and the Catholic Church make absolutely clear – one of the quickest ways to Hell is our tongue, usually words that we say, but also we can sin by not speaking when we should. Some examples of ways to sin through our speech:
It is a serious sin to spread gossip, something that we don’t know to be true
It is a serious sin to say something we know to be true about another person but sheds a bad light on that person
It is a serious sin with our words to in anyway approve of another’s sin
boasting and bragging are also sins we commit through our speech
Swearing and taking the Lord’s name in vain is a serious sin against the second commandment.
And of course lying is something we should never do either.
We can also sin by NOT speaking when we should, particularly when we see another committing a sin, but do not say anything to point that out.
On the positive side, we can use our speech to praise another person directly. We can all recall someone who spoke something to us, a positive word of encouragement that turned our day around for the better. Why don’t we do that more often?
Looking back on my life when I was younger, I can’t remember any time where I use my speech to affirm another person, but I can remember lots of times where I committed all of the above sins of speech or lack of speech.
With Lent starting this coming Wednesday, as we think about what we can give up, let us add to that list a resolve to not commit any sins with our speech, not spread gossip, not say anything negative about anyone, let us not boast nor brag, let us commit to never swearing and never taking the Lord’s name in vain...
Let us instead commit to using our speech to affirm at least person per day in person. Not electronically, not on snapchat, not via text but in person as Jesus always did.