Who Do You Say That I Am?
21st Sunday Ordinary Time
August 23, 2020
Who do you say that Jesus is? Most of us, if asked this question, would reply, “Jesus is Lord” or “The Son of God”. But is he really? One of the ways that we can tell if Jesus is the Lord of our lives is by how we speak. Try listening to yourself this week. Do I tend to speak ill of others? If that person could overhear me, would I have to change the subject? Do I tend to use vulgar or obscene words? Am I a thankful person or a complainer? Do I speak one way in public and another in private?
One of the greatest spiritual weapons we can add to our arsenal is silence. Oftentimes the best thing to say is actually nothing. One of my good friends, who is a nun, once told me what she has used in the past to help her keep quiet when she is driving, as she has a tendency to gripe about other drivers. She put a sign on the car seat that she could see just before she sat down in the car: “Be holy; shut up”!
Must I really criticize that person? When I complain, doesn’t this actually make things worse? Must I tell everyone what so and so did to me or that bit of gossip that I have heard? Exterior silence or keeping quiet is a great tool for growing in holiness and having a more peaceful life.
Jesus also wants to be Lord of what goes on inside our heads. Keeping interior silence means learning to quiet that interior dialogue, especially that which is harmful or negative toward ourselves or others. Have you ever tried monitoring your thoughts for a while? It can be a scary experience! Many saints have learned a great secret: much peace can be gained by turning off the destructive dialogue.
Someone may have hurt us deeply. We keep turning over and over in our minds the painful words and deeds. Meanwhile, the person who has hurt us has gone on their merry way and could care less about it! Not only does this nurture unforgiveness in our hearts, which is a sin, but it harms us both physically and spiritually.
Instead, when we become aware that we have begun thinking these destructive thoughts, we can replace them immediately with a picture of the Lord Jesus entering right into that hurtful scene, looking at us and motioning for us to be quiet, for this is exactly how he responded toward those that hurt him. Thus, even our most painful experiences can become a secret prayer shared by Jesus.