Words can take us away from stress, from boredom, from sadness. Wordplay, i.e. creating puns, is a double-take brain game that can be quite humorous. Of course, we have to choose our words carefully, depending on situations.
Words are like life: many have interesting histories, come from other countries or languages, and can get distorted and misinterpreted, misspelled or misunderstood. Many words aid in solving problems, help in categorization, but also can cause dissension. Certain words are overused while others pass out of popular usage. Words can follow fads and trends, just like life. Words are big and small, old and new. Special words can console and be very calming, while others can spark controversy.
In the reading from Matthew’s Gospel in yesterday’s Mass, Jesus uses his to teach in a long parable about a sower and the different places his seeds fall. Jesus used that as an analogy for the different ways of hearing the word of God and reacting to it. We are blessed that Jesus used so many wonderful words as he patiently taught the disciples. Hopefully we take the time to digest and understand his words and yield the fruit he wants us to yield.
We know that words often go in one ear and out the other. We get busy, distracted, weary and emotional. We might not pursue nuances or go deeper. When we pray, the words can become so habitual that the meanings diminish. We should not do away with words but use them thoughtfully.
The words we use in private prayer can bring us comfort and peace. Faith sharing and praying with others can be enlightening and faith-bolstering. We can use our words to teach, to enlighten, and draw closer to Jesus. We should not “do away” with words, but “come away” with words that enrich our communication with God and with each other.
St. Paul exhorts us in his letter to the Philippians (4:4-7):
Rejoice in the Lord always. I say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known
to all. The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and
petition, with thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of
God that surpasses all understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ
Photograph by Brett Jordan Unsplash.
The gospel passage is from the New American Bible, Oxford University Press, 1990.
Sharon Krause is a RENEW volunteer whose writing has appeared in several resources for small-group faith sharing. She is a wife, mother, and grandmother residing in Manchester, Connecticut. Over the years, she has served in many parish ministries.