“Thus says the LORD:
If you remove from your midst oppression,
false accusation and malicious speech;
If you bestow your bread on the hungry
and satisfy the afflicted;
Then light shall rise for you in the darkness,
and the gloom shall become for you like midday;
Then the LORD will guide you always
and give you plenty even on the parched land.” (Is 58:9b-11a)
This has been a tough half of a week for anyone who has taken their Lenten journey seriously.
The readings have spoken to us about radical changes that need to be made in our lives, about living deeper in the Lord than just at the surface where we are most comfortable, about doing things that go against our normal way of doing business.
One of the things that first catches my eye in the reading for Saturday morning’s Mass is the whole topic of false accusation and malicious speech.
I have seen far too many people far too willing to talk about the “faults” of others, even if those faults do not exist except in the eye of the person speaking.
Malicious speech is rampant in our world.
At the present time, you cannot get away from it. It is all around us in the present political debates and campaigns as this election year ramps up.
Negative advertising is a winner. That is what many of the pundits claim. They claim that because, when negative advertising is the highlight of a contest, it can easily turn the vote for a desired outcome.
What is wrong with that?!
When did we become a people who wanted to hear all the dirt rather than a people who cared about issues?
The realm of politics is just a reflection of the rest of our lives.
I have heard so many people talk about others and it sickens me. I see what it does to others. I have experienced it in my own life. I see what it does to our students, especially when the negative talkers are the students’ parents or other family members.
I truly believe that we have forgotten that we are all a part of the same family, the family of God.
If we remembered that, we would not speak so maliciously about one another. We would care about others. We would provide for their needs. We would satisfy the afflicted.
And if we did all of that, God would, indeed, shine in the darkness of our lives and lead us to greater heights.
FAITH ACTION: Not for the faint of heart: Think about the gossip and malicious speech that you may have heard today. Did you participate in it or did you try to stop it? If you participated in it, you should consider refraining from doing so in the future and maybe, even, correcting anything false that you may have repeated. If you attempted to stop it, good for you! Pray that others may have the grace to stop spreading false and malicious talk as well.