Homily (Reflection) for Thursday of the Fifth Week in Ordinary Time (I) (9th February, 2017) on the Gospel

Gen 2:18-25;
Ps 127:1-5 (R. cf. v.1);
Mk 7:24-30.
Topic: Watch your words (tongue).
In the region of Tyre, Jesus entered a house and did not wish anyone to know. But when a Gentile woman of Syrophoenician origin whose daughter had an unclean spirit heard of Him, she came a bowed down at His feet and begged Him to cast the demon out of her daughter. Jesus said to her, “Let the children be fed first, for it is not fair to take the children’s food and throw it to the dogs.” She replied, “Sir, even the dogs under the table eat the children’s crumbs.” On hearing this, Jesus said to her, “For saying that, you may go–the demon has left your daughter.”
Often we see ourselves saying what should not out of anger forgetting the words of the Psalmist, “I will guard my ways, that I may not sin with my tongue; I will bridle my mouth, so long as the wicked are in my presence” (Ps 39:1). An unguarded tongue brings to ruin, cf. Ps 64:8. The book of Proverbs reads, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits” (Prov 18:21).
Tongue is for the singing of God’s praise, cf. Ps 119:172; Rom 14:11; Phil 2:11. Hence, we read from the book of Proverbs, “The tongue of the righteous is choice silver” (Prov 10:20a). Again, “The mouth of the righteous brings forth wisdom” (Prov 10:31a; cf. Prov 12:18. 15:2).
Although it is not easy to guard the tongue (cf. Jas 3:8), but Saint Peter advises, “He that would love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking guile” (1Pt 3:10). Sometimes we think we can get things by speaking harshly but the bible rightly tells us, “With patience a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue will break a bone” (Prov 25:15). Remember the last words of Jesus to the Gentile woman in today’s gospel, “For saying that, you may go–the demon has left your daughter”. Let us go and imitate this noble woman.
Bible Reading: Jas 3:1-12.
Thought for today: Select your words carefully especially when annoyed.
Let us pray: Lord, help us to be always in control of ourselves – Amen.

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