Today is Palm Sunday; the day we celebrate our Lord’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem with the people singing “Hosanna to the Son of David.” Unfortunately, four days later, that chant changed to “Crucify Him, Crucify Him.” The Apostle James, in his letter (chapter 3:6-10), says that “the tongue exists among our members as a world of malice, a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” He continues, “From the same mouth, we bless God and [also] curse human beings.” Then, he concludes, “This need not be so, my brothers.”
Yes, this need not be so. In the First Reading, Isaiah says, “The Lord GOD has given me a well-trained tongue, that I might know how to speak to the weary a word that will rouse them” (Isaiah 50:4). St. Paul in Ephesians 4:29 says, “Let every word that comes from your mouth be such that it will edify those who hear it.” The truth is that words matter, and words have power— the power to help, to heal, to hinder, to hurt, to harm, to humiliate, to tear down, to reconcile, to destroy, to inspire, to degrade, to cause joy or sadness, and to humble. In short, words can shape the course of people’s destinies. So, in your self-talk, let your words be positive, encouraging, motivating, uplifting, and capable of instilling belief in yourself. Your words can become your world, for the “Word was made flesh and dwelt among us.” We create our own weaknesses and our own strengths by our word.
When it comes to others, let’s choose our words carefully before we utter them, because our words, which may not mean much to us when they were spoken, can create a lifetime of negative memory in the minds and hearts of others. Words can be forgiven, but they are rarely forgotten. Even when people forget our words, they seldom forget how we made them feel by what was said. Let us endeavor to leave people with loving words because it may be the last time we will ever see them. It is important that we avoid mixing our words with our moods because our moods can change, but our words, once spoken, cannot be taken back.
My friends, while the tongue has no bones, it is strong enough to break a heart and while a broken bone can heal, the wound opened by a word can fester forever. So, let us speak words that are kind, loving, positive, uplifting, encouraging, and life-giving; words that can inspire confidence in others to do things they couldn’t dream of doing by themselves.