Even words can kill. Dangerous weapons, those lips. We will be held accountable for the things we say, particularly the things we say about each other.
“You have heard that it was said to your ancestors,
You shall not kill; and whoever kills will be liable to judgment.
But I say to you,
whoever is angry with his brother
will be liable to judgment;
and whoever says to his brother, ‘Raqa,’
will be answerable to the Sanhedrin;
and whoever says, ‘You fool,’
will be liable to fiery Gehenna.
Therefore, if you bring your gift to the altar,
and there recall that your brother
has anything against you,
leave your gift there at the altar,
go first and be reconciled with your brother,
and then come and offer your gift.
Settle with your opponent quickly while on the way to court.
Otherwise your opponent will hand you over to the judge,
and the judge will hand you over to the guard,
and you will be thrown into prison.
Amen, I say to you,
you will not be released until you have paid the last penny.
Pope Francis’ Sunday Angelus message emphasized the importance of avoiding all forms of slander in living a Christian life.
“It’s so rotten, gossip. At the beginning, it seems to be something enjoyable and fun, like a piece of candy. But at the end, it fills the heart with bitterness and also poisons us,” Pope Francis said Feb. 16.
“I tell you the truth,” he preached to the crowds filling St. Peter’s Square. “I am convinced that if each one of us would purposely avoid gossip, at the end, we would become a saint! It’s a beautiful path!”
“Do we want to become saints? Yes or no?” he queried as the crowds replied, “yes!”
“Yes? Do we want to live attached to gossip as a habit?” Pope Francis continued, “Yes or no? No? Ok, so we are in agreement! No gossip!”
The Gospel reading at Sunday’s Mass contained the story of Jesus explaining to the disciples that he had come “not to abolish, but to fulfill the law” of the old covenant.
Jesus offers the example of the fifth commandment, “do not kill,” and goes on to add, “but I say to you, whoever is angry with his brother will be guilty before the court.”
“With this, Jesus reminds us that even words can kill!” explained the Pope. “When it is said that someone has the ‘tongue of a serpent,’ what does it mean? That his words kill.”
“Therefore, not only must one not make an attempt on the life of others, but one must not even pour on him the poison of anger and hit him with slander, nor speak ill of him. And here we arrive at gossip. Gossip can also kill, because it kills the reputation of the person,” stressed the Pontiff.
Jesus proposes another way to his followers, “the perfection of love: a love in which the only measure is not to measure, but to go beyond all calculating.”
This Christian path of loving one’s neighbor is “so fundamental that Jesus comes to say that our relationship with God can not be honest if we do not want to make peace with our neighbor.”
Dear Lord, For all the times I've gossiped or slandered, I am truly sorry. Please forgive me. And give me the grace and the courage to reconcile with the people my words have hurt.
Is the someone to whom you need to be reconciled because of the sins committed by your tongue? Go! Today.
How can I pray for you this week?