Goodness And Beauty From The Heart
Readings: 1st: Sir 27:5-8; Ps: 91; 2nd: 1 Cor 15, 54-58; Gos: Lk 6:39-45
This brief reflection was written by Fr. Njoku Canice Chukwuemeka, C.S.Sp. He is a Catholic Priest and a member of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans). He is a missionary in Puerto Rico. He is the Parish Priest of Parroquia la Resurrección del Senor, Canóvanas, and the Major Superior of the Congregation of the Holy Spirit (Spiritans), Circumscription of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic. He was the chancellor of the Diocese of Fajardo Humacao, Puerto Rico. Fr. Canice is a member of the Academy of Homiletics. For more details and comments contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
Today, the eighth Sunday of ordinary time, the church continues to remind us of the virtues and qualities that should characterize our lives as Christians.
She reminds us that while physical appearance could be deceptive, what determines who we are is what comes from within us. This includes the quality of our words, the wisdom, and the goodness that we manifest.
So, our first reading is a call to be very careful in evaluating people based on their appearances rather than on the wisdom that comes from them. It says: “The test of a man is in his conversation. A man’s word betrays what he feels. Do not praise him before he speaks.”
Despite this, it suffices to note that one needs a lot of wisdom to discern the truth in someone’s word. This is true, especially given that many people say beautiful words to please and deceive others while their hearts are far from the truth.
Christ says: These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Mt 15:8. Sometimes, they also tell us what we want to hear to make us happy for a moment and sad afterward.
The wisdom, good counsel, and, sincerity that come from the word of a Christian is what sets him apart. It makes him: “A man, in whom there is no guile or deceit” (John 1:47). Not only our words but our actions as Christian must edify, improve and encourage, others.
So, today we must ask ourselves, do my words edify or make any positive difference on others? Does it build or destroy the community?
In today’s gospel, Jesus also teaches us that the quality of our heart determines the quality of our words and actions. He says, “A good person, out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, while an evil person, out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.”
As Christians, if we live according to the good news, our actions and words would be guided by it. Consequently, it will affect others positively. On the contrary, if we fill our hearts with flirt, our words and actions would be filled with nothingness.
Also, Christ warns us today to be careful in judging others. Instead, we should be humble enough to look inwards before criticizing others. Hence, Paul reminds us: “If you think you are standing strong, be careful not to fall” (1Cor10:12).
In the second reading, Paul reminds us that God has given us victory through Christ. For this reason, we must be of good cheers and never relent in doing good. Christ’s victory must not be in vain. Instead, it must sustain us in good actions as Paul tells us today: “Keep laboring at the Lord’s work always, knowing that, in the Lord, you cannot be struggling in vain. This is a call to perfection in all we say and do.
Finally, today, may our hearts be filled with joy for what God has down for us through Christ. Through Him, we are filled with goodness so that we can praise and thank God with a cheerful and sincere heart. Indeed, it is good to give thanks to the Lord for what he has done for us.
Peace be with you!