(Sir 27.4-7; 1 Cor 15.54-58; Lk 6. 39-45)
Spoken words and names are still powerful. I recall the couple who wanted to call their newborn twins Benson and Hedges. I wondered what it would be like to be known as cancer – inducing cigarettes all your life. Looking too at the placards held by many anti-vax protesters outside parliament I thought some asked legitimate questions while others exuded a hatred that spoke more of who they were rather than about the freedom issues being debated.
Jesus’ words were never hateful but they were often confronting. Suggesting that all of us may suffer from either splinters or logs in our eyes (Lk 6.41), he was hinting at a deeper question. Do we listen attentively to people so as to grasp what they are saying or are we just waiting for a gap to put forward our far better ideas or to launch trenchant attacks against what we believe they stand for.
The power of truthful speech and loving listening is to produce fruits of understanding, and so breach barriers and bring to birth bonds of sympathy. Whereas failure to listen is the seedbed of suspicion, alienation and growing separation.
Listening with love is a type of resurrection; refusing to listen is foreshadowing death; “from the fullness of the heart the heart speaks.” (Lk 6.45)
8th Sunday year CThis Sunday