Fri, 17 February 2012
(Jas.3:1-10; Ps.12:2-5,7-8; Mk.9:2-13)
“He hardly knew what to say,
for they were all overcome with awe.”
O brothers and sisters, how like Peter we should be in the presence of God and among one another. So conscious of the Lord’s wondrous being in our midst should we ever remain. Then we would not sin with our tongue, but listen to His holy word instead. For our tongues are indeed “like a fire [that] is enkindled by hell,” but His words are “like tried silver, freed from dross, sevenfold refined.”
In our first reading today, James presents clearly with strong analogy the dangers of the tongue. Though “a small member” it serves to guide the rest of our bodies like the bit in the mouth of a horse or the rudder of a ship.
And how difficult to control it is! “The tongue defiles the entire body” so easily. “It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison” which so soon infects our members. How shall we find the means to control it? Only by obedience to the Lord and silence in His presence.
“A cloud came, overshadowing them, and out of the cloud a voice: ‘This is my Son, my beloved. Listen to Him.’” O the voice of God and the words of His Son! O how our ears and our hearts must be attuned to this Word, to this voice speaking to us! This is He; you are not He. Listen – do not speak. Know what “the Scriptures say of Him.” He is the One. Only His words matter.
Notice, too, what Elijah and Moses do when they appear with the Lord: “the two were in conversation with Jesus.” What holy speech this can only have been! And do we dare speak as they converse? And does not God converse with His Son and with His creation at all times? Does He not call to us in all sounds? And do we listen – are our ears open to His voice? Or are we too busy cursing men, men “made in the likeness of God”? Certainly, “this ought not to be, my brothers.”
“May the Lord destroy all smooth lips, every boastful tongue, those who say, ‘We are heroes with our tongues; our lips are our own, who is Lord over us?’” Only “if a person is without fault in speech [is he] a man in the fullest sense.” Let your tongue be controlled and so your whole body. Let your thoughts be pure, then so will your actions be. But if you speak falsehood, you are inclined to damnation.
Be silent before the wonder of God. Let His Word steer your ship.
O LORD, as a child let us come to you,
in trusting prayer,
and you will hear and answer us.
YHWH, how powerful prayer is! For it unites us to you and to your great power; it makes us as your children. Let our prayer be sincere, that we might find your gentle embrace.
There is nothing we need fear, dear LORD, if we but turn to you. If we ask, you will give, and cure us indeed of every ill. And so, let us pray for one another in your NAME, desire the salvation of all souls by your grace, and the blessing of your Son’s Cross will reign here on earth and bring us soon to Heaven. Let your will be done and your kingdom come.
Let us pray especially for your priests and the special power you give them to forgive men’s sins and make your presence known among us. In your sacraments we take our refuge, LORD; let them always be celebrated in accord with your Word.
Let our prayer come like incense before you, O LORD; may it be acceptable in your sight. Let it always come from an innocent heart.