1 Kings 10:1-10
Recently I was taken out to lunch by the golf pro from the Houstonian Country Club. I’ve known him for some five years, and we have a great symbiotic relationship. I used to be his spiritual director, and he used to give me free golf lessons! He is in training to become a permanent deacon and should be ordained next February.
During our lunch, we talked about golf and playing with others. He said, "If you want to get to know what a person is really like, spend five hours with him on the golf course." I so agree. The game of golf tests our honesty, integrity, patience, values, as well as your language. I play golf with a variety of people, some of whom are regular church goers. Under pressure even the best can mutter God’s name in vain or berate themselves mercilessly. What Jesus taught is true: "What comes out of us can defile us."
However, what comes out of us can also ennoble us. Solomon’s wisdom brought him great prosperity and the wonderful admiration of the Queen of Sheba. She lavished him with gifts after hearing him speak. In community, we can tear people down (and thus defile ourselves) or build them up by our words. Our main Passionist ministries have to do with what we say. We are ministers of the Word. A few weeks ago, I invited our newly ordained Father Alfredo Ocampo to team with me on a parish mission. After the mission, we had a good discussion about the role of preaching and the goal of a mission. I shared that the purpose of a mission is to inspire, encourage, and persuade others to become the best they can be. Much can happen through the use of words.
Words are powerful. They can defile or ennoble us, as well as others. Like Solomon, we pray for an understanding heart, a heart of wisdom so we can rightly live in community as well as guide the people of God.
Fr. Cedric Pisegna, C.P. is a missionary preacher, author of 15 books and creator of television and radio programs airing in many cities. You can learn more about his ministry at: http://www.frcedric.org/