Oct. 01, 2017 - 26th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church
Do actions really speak louder than words? The parable seems to indicate this. Maybe we could look at a modern example to help us answer this gospel question.
Two world leaders, Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, have recently exchanged some unhelpful rhetoric. They seem to be having a war of words, like two boys name calling on the playground at recess.
One called the other little rocket man and the other responded with deranged lunatic.
Their exchange of words seems immature. Both puffing their chests to see who will flinch first.
I think it’s probably inappropriate for world leaders to engage in this type of posturing and name calling.
The result, in my opinion, is that they have both embarrassed themselves on the world stage. And they certainly have created an atmosphere of global tension and unease.
The threat is real enough but right now it’s only a threat. Right now it’s only words.
Let’s look at what would happen if their words became actions.
If one would launch an intercontinental ballistic missile at the other, it is unlikely that the response would be measured.
We could easily find ourselves in a global conflict the likes of which we have not seen before. Actions would, in fact, speak louder than words.
The gospel does challenge us to look at our actions. Maybe some of our actions are unhelpful, maybe some are immature, and maybe some are downright sinful. These are the actions we each need to work on.
Isaiah says that if we turn from these sins, we will surely live. We will not die. But it’s not just these actions. The son who does his father’s will, whose actions are correct, is not perfect. He needs to look at his words. They reflect his heart.
I am certain that all of us are called to look at our words with discernment because our words reflect our hearts. With our words we can lift up or tear down. With our words we can give life or crush spirits.
We can say things that are helpful or we can say things that are hurtful. We can build trust or increase unease. Actions may speak louder than words, but words are very important.
Saint Paul says to the Philippians, let every tongue proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord. Jesus gives us two commands, to love God and neighbor. We show this with our actions and our words.
Do we proclaim that Jesus is Lord with our actions and with our words? Do we show love of neighbor with our actions and our words? Both sons have things they need to work on and so do we.