Year C: 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time
First Reading: Ecclesiasticus 27: 4-7
The First Reading picks up the theme of how to test what we hear and how what a person says often gives a measure of the kinds of people they are.
We have all been in situations where someone has “let something slip” and we see them in a new light. It may be that they make a racist comment - or make harsh unjust remarks about someone - and we find ourselves taken aback.
Alternatively, it may be that someone suddenly lets slip that, for years, they have been visiting an elderly person and doing their shopping - or that they have an unsung talent - and we find them rising in our estimation.
People are full of surprises - and it is often in what they say that we learn to judge the person they really are.
And, of course, that works the other way round too! People will test our words and get the measure of us by what we say - and how we say it. As we learn to discern what we hear from others, so we must learn to guard our own words.
It is about cultivating the habit of deciding whether the things we want to say are coming from the “good store” inside - or the “bad store”.
We need to pause - particularly if it is something likely to challenge or upset (at least in the short term) - and determine whether it is, in the first place, necessary - and whether it is for the building up of the other person or for their hurt.
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