To Be a ‘MouthPeace’ of God

Matthew 15: 1-2,10-14
Num 12:1-13 / Psa 51

It is not what goes into your mouth that makes you ritually unclean; rather, what comes out of it makes you unclean.
(Matthew 15:11)

May everything that comes from within
Bring forth unity, and not discord,
May our words lead to God, not to sin,
That we may win eternal reward.

Then some Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked Him, “Why is it that your disciples disobey the teaching handed down by our ancestors? They don’t wash their hands in the proper way before they eat!” Then Jesus called the crowd to Him and said to them, “Listen and understand! It is not what goes into your mouth that makes you ritually unclean; rather, what comes out of it makes you unclean.” Then the disciples came to Jesus and said, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended by what you said?” Jesus relied, “Every plant which my Father in heaven did not plant will be uprooted. Don’t worry about them! They are blind leaders of the blind; and when one blind man leads another blind man, both will fall into a ditch.” (Matthew 15:1-2,10-14)

Reflection

In far too many instances, it is the wrong things that come out of our mouths that get us into trouble. The words that we speak reveal our true nature. The Bible is replete with many a sound advice on the importance of being prudent in speech. In the book of Proverbs, it says, “He who guards his mouth and his tongue keeps himself from trouble” (Prov.21:23). And in Sirach, we read, “He who gloats over evil will meet with evil, and he who repeats an evil report has no sense. Never repeat gossip, and you will not be reviled” (Sir.19:5-8). In the first reading, Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses for marrying a Cushite woman, and complaining, “Is it through Moses alone that the Lord speaks? Does He not speak through us also?” (Num 12:1-2) For speaking against Moses, “the meekest man on the face of the earth,” Yahweh God punished Miriam, afflicting her with leprosy. It was only through Moses’ intercession that God showed mercy and allowed her to be restored.

In the first book of Samuel, we read about the traitor Doeg, the Edomite who betrayed King David to Saul (1Sam:9). King David later wrote: “Why do you glory in evil, you scandalous liar? All day long you plot destruction; your tongue is like a sharpened razor, you skillful deceiver. You love evil rather than good, lies rather than honest speech” (Psa 52:3-5). I am sure Doeg the Edomite must have met a fate worse than what befell King Saul.

St. James advised the early Christians how to live in peace and wisdom: “With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be. Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness” (James 3:9-10,13-15,17-18).

Let our words therefore promote harmony and peace, from hearts that seek the love of Christ and the will of God, and we shall never lack of the fruit of the Holy Spirit, which is “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control… (We) who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified (our) sinful nature with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also follow the Spirit” (Gal.5:22-23,25). Let us be God’s “mouth-peace” in our family, workplace and community.

Dear Lord, bless our hearts, minds and mouths that only good things may issue from them. Grant us Your grace of prudence and wisdom so that we may never fall victim to the snares of the evil one, who plants the seeds of enmity in every opportunity to foment conflicts and hatred in our community. Make us Your agents of love and peace, we pray. Amen.

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