The word of God is living and effective, sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow, and able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart. No creature is concealed from him, but everything is naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must render an account. (Letter to the Hebrews, 4:12 – 13)
Our Catholic tradition has always been fascinated with the word “word.” There are 284 references to the word “word” in the New Testament. Why so many references?
We are being called to reflect upon the impact that the Word of God has in our lives, the Incarnate Word as Son of God and Son of Mary and how we are challenged to pay attention to our own words as we speak to one another. Words matter. What we say matters. So, let us take a deeper look on how today’s Word of God impacts our lives.
If you are like me, you can remember words and phrases from your past, even from your earliest moments of awareness. They came to be in our awareness and now live on forever in our memory.
I remember words that made me smile and words that made me cry. I remember encouraging words and humiliating ones. I remember words that made me angry, that offended me, words that left me confused and speechless. I remember words that invited me to go beyond my personal best and prodded me to go beyond my comfort zone. I remember words of love and how these words made me feel. Yes, words are a two-edge sword.
Early on in our lives, we learn to use words to protect ourselves. We learn to use facile words, careless words. We may have even become accustomed to speaking falsehoods, thinking that our misstatements and lies can save us from the exposure of our true selves and innermost being. Falsehoods only lead to false security. Many of us have learned this lesson painfully.
How does the Word of God touch my life? How does God’s Word challenge me and call me to conversion? At what point will I become truly convinced that God’s Word is Truth, the kind of truth that will set me free? God’s Word is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
Most of us will agree that being true to our word can come at an awful price. To live a virtuous life will demand integrity, honesty and courage. We need courage to live trustworthy lives, for our yes to be yes and our no to be no. When we give our word, we give our very selves, a child of God.
Let us, then, meditate on this: And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us! Today, at this moment, we are the Word of God in our world.
Fr. Clemente Barrón, C.P., is the Director of Hispanic Ministry for Holy Cross Province. He lives at Mater Dolorosa Community in Sierra Madre, California.