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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Power of Words

First Tuesday of Lent

Is 55:10-11
34:4-5, 6-7, 16-17, 18-19
Mt 6:7-15

I actually wrote about this for the Lenten reflection last year. So I will just copy and paste.

In today's reading we find a two-fold meaning--that all things have purpose under God, and that words have power when used correctly. Just as God sends the rain and snow with a purpose, so does he send his Word. This word is both Christ and the words that He speaks. Jesus gives us a formula for prayer, and warns us against useless and futile "babble" meant only for show and with no love towards God.

How do these two ideas fit together? The image in Isaiah gives us a picture of words as fulfilling. The water and snow give life and allow the budding of plants, giving food and rich soil. Jesus likewise gives us fulfillment--He gives us new life through his death and resurrection, and sustains us with his body and blood. When praying we hear that God "gives us our daily bread", "forgives us our trespasses", and "delivers us from evil". We thus see that it is not words in general that have power, but words that come from the authority of God. One way in which this power can be manifested is in forgiveness. God gives us the power to say to one another, "I forgive you". These words are fulfilling to us, and their purpose is to recreate a bond of love.

In this time of Lent forgiveness is imperative. How can we not forgive a transgressor when Christ forgave through His most painful death and in spite of innocence? We are the biggest transgressors. In the act of forgiving we are released from the chains that keep us from our brothers an sisters and we bring ourselves closer in unity with Christ on the cross. It is in dying this way, free from those that hurt us, that we are able to rise again with Christ at Easter.

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