Tuesday of the Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time
The good communication
Then Pharisees and scribes came to Jesus from Jerusalem and said, “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They do not wash (their) hands when they eat a meal.” He summoned the crowd and said to them, “Hear and understand. It is not what enters one’s mouth that defiles that person; but what comes out of the mouth is what defiles one.” … Mt 15,1-2.10-14
” Hear and understand. It is not what enters one’s mouth that defiles that person; but what comes out of the mouth is what defiles one”. By this statement Jesus makes pure all the foods, even if taken without the prior ablution of the hands, the non-compliance of which, in the Jewish civilization, caused the ritual impurity of the dinner. At the same time, however, with clear reference to the insinuating question of the scribes and of the pharisees, Jesus does not lose the opportunity to teach to the crowd that a man can, neverthless, be made unclean by what he says, because “For from the fulness of the heart the mouth speaks” (Mt 12,34). With this sentence, quoted from the Gospel of Matthew, he introduces the subject of the “good communication”, the one which improves the reality in which it resounds. In God the “Word” is creative with infinite power: “God said, ‘Let there be light’ and there was light” (Gn 1,3). When God speaks, he calls the things into existence and he solves the most impossible situations. The word of the man neither can be compared with that of God, but, although having an infinitesimal power, it also amends the reality where it resonates. Just think of the speeches of certain dictators or of the exhortations to the non-violence of Gandhi. Even in our daily lives, within the family or at work, the communication has, in a more restricted context, a diversity of effects. Because the word of the man has the authority of the person who pronounces it, we have to be sensible to the responsibility of the role which we hold. A wrong word makes us unclean, as Jesus says today, because it changes the reality in negative situations. It is good, therefore, that, at important moments, our talk is preceded by a prayer. It is the only way to be sure to express the thought of God. Not always the prayer has to be long, but it must be intense, such that to ensure the peace of the heart and the serenity of the spirit. The more the communication is in the peace, so it is more in tune with the Spirit of God. Yesterday night a son of ours requested an opinion on an important decision which he should take.
Tonight we prayed for a long time to understand and to be enlightened by the Lord and this morning we sent a letter to him expressing frankly our opinion. Since this is an important decision, it is good that our words are accompanied by a lot of prayer, to be understood with the same spirit in which they were written.