Sirach 27: 4 – 7
1 Corinthians 15: 54 – 58
Luke 6:39 – 45
Today’s selections from the Book of Sirach and Luke’s Gospel suggest a powerful standard by
which we can judge the heart and mind of another person: the subject and manner about which
one speaks. Pretty obvious, isn’t it? Negative people tend to speak negatively. Jealous people
speak resentfully. Judgmental people speak suspiciously. Their conversations tend to weigh
others down. By contrast, positive people speak positively. Happy people speak graciously.
Energized people speak enthusiastically. Their conversations tend to lift others up.
If the eyes are the windows to the soul, conversation seems to be expressions of the heart.
Francis de Sales writes in his Introduction to the Devout Life: “Just as physicians learn about a
person’s health or sickness by looking at the tongue, so our words are a true indication of the
state of our souls.” (Part III, Chapter 26) This diagnosis has several aspects.
First: how do we speak of God? “If you are truly in love with God you should often speak of
God in familiar conversation with others…just as bees extract with their mouths nothing but
honey, so your tongue should always be sweetened with its God…always with attention and
Second: how do we speak of others? “Be careful never to let an indecent word leave your lips,
for even if you do not speak with an evil intention those who hear it may take it a different way.”
When one’s heart is filled with evil or rancor or intrigue, their tongues are no longer like the
sweet ones of the bees but become “like a lot of wasps gathered together to feed on corruption.”
(Part III, Chapter 27)
Third: how balanced is our conversation? “It seems to me that we should avoid two extremes,”
observes Francis de Sales. “To be too reserved and to refuse to take part in conversation looks
like lack of confidence in the others or some kind of disdain. On the other hand, to be always
babbling or joking without giving others time or chance to speak when they wish is a mark of
shallowness and levity.” (Part III, Chapter 30)
What do the content and tone of our words tell others about our hearts?
Jesus makes reference to our selective perception. We’re all too conscious of the defects and sins
of others but rarely, conscious of the defects and sins of our own. We are with bright sight and
with clear hearing over the others’ mistakes. Our dignity as children of the just God pops up,
whenever we hear or face with other people’s crimes and deficiencies and we love to sit on
Moses’ seat to judge and condemn or punish others.
But regarding our own mistakes and failures, we are blind, indifferent, cool and tolerant. Very
often we live in a dreamland of ‘Ego solus sanctus’. I am holy one, holier than others are. We
think we are better than others or we distract ourselves with other people’s business and lives.
We are masters, at the art o deceiving ourselves in this regard. Self-deception is enemy number
one in our spiritual life. Before entering into heaven, one of the last enemies we have to
overcome is this deceptive self. This is why Jesus asks us to deny our self, that fake and
deceptive self. He also advises that we should be concerned first to get to know ourselves, to be
aware of our own defects, and to correct them and then start correcting others. In a very Jewish
literary style, Jesus narrated it in parable in the Gospel today: “Why do you notice the splinter in
your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own? Remove the wooden
beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly, to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.”
Knowing oneself, one’s own sins, defects, and mistakes is the starting point of our spiritual
maturity. Today’s readings offer us two ways of knowing our defects and discover the beam in
our own eyes. First, to know how good and bad is our heart through our own words. Jesus says,
“from the fullness of heart the mouth speaks,’ When he said, mouth speaks’, he was referring to
the language with which every human being communicates his/her human feelings, emotions, an
thoughts. These forms of human language, are the outward expression or revelation of our inner
soul. In the book of Sirach we heard, ‘One’ s speech does disclose the bet of one’s mind.’ The
second way of knowing our self, is through our actions. A common saying is, ‘actions speak
louder than words’. As I said, we are very efficient masters at the art of deceiving others and
ourselves too. So that the art of deceiving is carried on, even in our speeches and words. Did
you hear about ‘smooth talkers’? Have you not come across smart people who covet their power,
position and popularity by their, what they call ‘political’, diplomatic’ and business talks?
Jesus in today’s Gospel makes us to check mainly on our own deeds, our actions,
accomplishments, our ministerial enterprises, our charitable acts and see whether they are coming
out of true intention, genuine goal, and from proper attitude, and whether they correspond our
actions to the words we utter. Jesus says. ‘A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a
rotten tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. A good person out of the
store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces
God bless. Have a blessed day.