Sunday, March 3, 2019

8TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME C: EAR, HEART, MOUTH


8th SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME C
YEAR OF THE YOUTH
March 3, 2019

Jesus, I trust in you!

“Sa bibig nahuhuli ang isda,” so our elders tell us. There is truth in this saying and the Word of God teaches us about it. “When a sieve (panala) is shaken, the husks appear, so do one’s faults when one speaks…The fruit of a tree shows the care it has had, so too does one’s speech disclose the bent of one’s mind. Praise no one before he speaks, for it is then how people are tested.”

The Lord uses the same image in today’s Gospel reading: “A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit…A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.”

Lord, your words reveal the secrets of your Heart. You have the words of eternal life!
Ex abundantia cordis – “From the abundance of the heart” – so we are told. The heart is considered to be the center of hidden emotional-intellectual-moral activity. Because of the inaccessibility of the physical heart, it has been considered as the symbol of anything remote or inaccessible in man. The heart of a person is inaccessible to others but it is searched by God: “Man looks at outward appearances but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Sam 16:7)

The Lord Jesus tells us today that the secrets of the human heart are betrayed by the mouth. As the fruit reveals the upbringing of the tree, so also a man’s words reveal who he is. The mouth expresses the contents of the heart. It reveals the obsessions, preoccupations, concerns, desires of the person. The mouth confesses what the heart trusts.

And this is the reason why the Lord cautions us about our pronouncements. A man who sees the splinter in another person’s eye would most probably reveal the wooden beam in his eye. It is easy for him to see the splinter because he has a store of wooden beams in his heart. He is not aware of it because he is blind to his own faults but that blindness is betrayed by the pronouncements he makes about others.

This is why we constantly need to examine our own hearts. And one easy way of doing this is by asking ourselves: What are the words that I usually say? Ano ba ang bukambibig ko? Remember the saying: Buka ng bibig, kabig ng dibdib. Being aware of what we usually say, we will see the signs of the condition of our hearts. And keeping in mind what we spontaneously say, we become aware of our desires. We become aware of our trusts. Our words will show where we put our trust.

The mouth reveals what the heart contains and the ear determines what goes into it. The heart will contain what the ear chooses to listen to. This is why we should educate the heart by listening to the right voice. “Come children and hear me and I will teach you the ways of the Lord.” (Ps. 34:11) The heart needs to be educated by filling it with God’s word. “Pay attention and turn your ear to the sayings of the wise; apply your heart to what I teach, for it is pleasing when you keep them in your heart and have all of them ready on your lips.” (Proverbs 22:17-18) The reason why so much evil comes from our heart is because we deprive it of the wisdom the God’s words. As we care for the physical heart by eating healthy food, so must we care for our moral hearts by feeding it with God’s word.

St. Paul tells us that we will clothe the corruptible with incorruptibility. He spoke of the human flesh as being clothed by Divine glory at the resurrection. But we should start preparing for this by weeding out the corruption of the heart through listening to the word of God. Be careful of what you listen to. If you listen to garbage, your mouth will emit garbage. If you listen to what is sublime, your mouth will speak of what is sublime. The mouth speaks from the abundance of the heart.

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee.

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