Saturday, January 6, 2024

Homily for Epiphany 2023


Homily for the Epiphany, 2023

“And having been warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed for their country by another way.”


In this action of the Magi, returning to their country by another way, many Church Fathers and Saints have seen this as a metaphor for what happens when EACH of us encounters Christ…we take a new path after encountering Christ.  And we all encounter Jesus Christ every time we come to Mass!


We live in a culture that is saturated with gossip and slander…there are gossip tv shows, gossip magazines, gossip websites, gossip newspapers and even entire cable channels devoted 24 hours a day to celebrity gossip and slander.


All the social media platforms reward you for gossiping and slandering other people.

I used to gossip all the time…I would gossip and slander other people from sun up to sun down.  But I bought an audio version of the New Testament about 5 years ago, and listening to it over and over again, I was struck particularly by how so many sins committed with our speech, if left unconfessed, the New Testament authors say those sins will keep us out of Heaven.

Saint Paul says in First Corinthians chapter 6 That slanderers will not inherit the Kingdom of God. 


Saint Paul tells the Galatians that “The acts of the flesh are obvious: discord, fits of rage, dissensions…I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

The Book of Proverbs talks over and over again about how those who spread gossip are destined for calamity


Jesus says what goes into the mouth does not defile a person, but what comes out of the mouth is what defiles them.


Even spreading something we KNOW to be true about another person is a sin if it paints that person in a bad light…that sin is the sin of detraction.  Of course we need to tell the proper authorities if we see something happen that is a crime, but detraction is along the lines of “You won’t believe what I saw Lysander do this morning…”


I have two things to be particularly in rooting out the sins of gossip and slander from my life:

1 Monthly confession

2 Now, any time I am tempted to gossip or slander someone, I stop and pray a Hail Mary for that person in my head


The Catechism says “everyone enjoys a natural right to the honor of his name and reputation and to respect.”


In Ephesians 4 St. Paul says that we should “say only the good things that people need to hear, things that will really help them

I used to come to my parents, and spend the first of couple of minutes “venting” to them about all the “problems” but I also realized about 5 years ago that “venting”

1 Is not “saying only the good things that people need to hear, things that will really help them”

2 Does not do any good for my family and friends, and wastes their time


Let us resolve to totally change our course, like the Magi to take a new road home, because our speech can often get us in trouble, and sins of gossip and slander and detraction, if left unconfessed, will keep us out of Heaven.


Let us instead commit to the new road home of saying only the good things that people need to hear

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