Fr. Roy Cimagala .
THIS may be the favorite pastime of many people, but it is never good to gossip. To gossip is at least bad manners. If ever we have to talk about somebody with some of our friends, only nice, edifying things should be said.
We actually have no right to say negative things about others for the simple reason that the ones concerned would have no chance to explain and defend themselves and those talked to usually do not have any way to do anything about those negative things, since they have nothing to do with the persons gossiped about.
We have to be most careful when in a conversation the topic would touch about a certain person who is not there. If the tone is not positive, the most likely thing to happen is that the conversation will turn into backbiting and mudslinging. The temptation is usually strong, and many find it irresistible.
Even if the negative things said of a person are true, it is still wrong to gossip because that would be a form of detraction.
It would still go against the commandment of charity which has as its finer points the demands of magnanimity, compassion, mercy, understanding, etc.
But what usually happens in that hush-hush tone of gossips is that the negative things said are not true or are already compromised what with all the exaggerations and distortions and the voicing of biases and prejudices that are typical of gossips. In this case, one would commit slander which is a more serious offense against a person.
Gossips encourage rash judgments, silly loquacity and reckless considerations of persons. They actually dehumanize gossipers. They spoil the tongue by letting it have its way without the proper guidance of right reason, let alone, charity.
As St. James said in his letter, we have to be most careful with our tongue. “The tongue,” he said, “is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” (3,5-6)
We need to be deliberate in training our tongue to follow the requirements of truth and charity. That’s because we tend to be loose and cavalier with it, and it actually needs to be closely guarded and disciplined.
Given the way the things are nowadays, we need to be most concerned about this issue. That’s because gossips today are not anymore hushed up. They have gone viral, enjoying a very vast amplitude what with all the powerful modern technologies we now have.
There is a lot of fake news around, and what people present as facts that everyone should know are actually materials for character assassinations and other fault-finding schemes. Today, even big, powerful networks are making use of this kind of journalism and public opinion.
We cannot be passive before this kind of development. We have to turn the tide. And this can mean that aside from avoiding gossips, we should be ready to spread positive and constructive things about persons, things, situations. We may have differences and conflicts which are actually unavoidable, but we can always handle them properly with charity and respect for everyone if we care.
When talking with friends, and especially when talking in public, we have to be ready with positive ideas and edifying words, stories, anecdotes, facts, and even jokes to say. These things do not compromise the objectivity of things, even if they may not capture everything that need to be said or known.
What should be avoided at all costs is to say negative things. If they have to be said because one would need to explain or defend himself, then a proper forum should be resorted to.
Our best link with Christ. I’m referring to the sacrament of the Holy Eucharist. That is where we get in direct contact with the living and redeeming Christ. We become contemporaries of his and join him in his redemptive work, sanctifying ourselves in the process and helping in the sanctification of everybody else.
In the Holy Mass, which makes present the culminating love of Christ for us by going through his passion, death and resurrection, we are invited to offer with him the supreme sacrifice to God our Father. It sacramentalizes the fullness of Christ’s redemptive work on us.
In so doing, we obtain forgiveness for all our sins and achieve our reconciliation with God from whom we come and to whom we belong. We cannot achieve this without Christ doing it for us and with us. He is the one who does it for us.
On our own, we cannot achieve that end because the creature cannot fully repay the debt he incurs from his Creator who is infinitely above our nature and capabilities. It can only be God who is also man who can perfectly mediate between God and man.
But our part is to act, in a manner of speaking, as laborers in the field. As St. Paul said in his First Letter to the Corinthians (3,6-9), we are “God’s fellow workers” and we ourselves are “God’s field.” Ours is to till the soil, water the plants, but it is “only God who gives the growth” to the plants.
Just the same, we need to do our part as best that we could because the effect of God’s mercy and grace in the Eucharist would depend on how we prepare ourselves to receive that divine mercy and grace.
Yes, it’s true that the objective effect of the Eucharist can still take place with our mere virtual intention to receive it, but it would be much better if we receive its effect with the best of our intentions and effort.
We need to realize more deeply what a tremendous reality we have in the Holy Eucharist! We have Christ himself in his real presence, he who is the Son of God who became man to save us. And we have him as the main food and sustenance in our arduous spiritual journey here on earth. And most of all, we have him in his supreme act of love for us by bearing all our sins and offering his life on the cross.
These truths about the sacrament should move us deeply to correspond to God’s love with our own generous love. We can do this by participating more actively in the Holy Mass and in going to Mass for often than just on Sundays.
By active participation in the Mass, we mean that we really should enter into the spirit of the Mass, realizing as vividly as possible the very sacrifice of Christ on the cross and his glorious resurrection, feeling the tremendous love Christ has for us, and making many acts of faith and love.
We should see to it that we are eager to receive Christ in Holy Communion as Christ himself has strongly invited his disciples to do so. He practically begs us to receive him in Communion.
“Truly, truly, I say to you,” he said, “unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.
He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal, and I will raise him up at the last day.” (Jn 6,53-54)
We should also have the intense desire to spend precious time with Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. As much as possible, we can do this everyday. And that visit should be spent nourishing our faith and strengthening our supernatural outlook, as we again go through the whole redemptive life and work of Christ. In a sense, it’s in this visit that we would have the most direct link with living and redeeming Christ.