The Power of Words
by Noel E. Bordador

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life, and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. He came to what was his own, and his own people did not accept him. But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen his glory, the glory as of a father's only son, full of grace and truth. (John testified to him and cried out, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me ranks ahead of me because he was before me.'") From his fullness we have all received grace upon grace. The law indeed was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God. It is God the only Son, who is close to the Father's heart, who has made him known.

- John 1:1-16.

 

Words have the power to hurt. But words also have the power to convey goodness and love. Hearing the three words, I love you, can bring joy to our hearts. The Gospel from John today mentions that God spoke a Word that became flesh and human.  And the Name of that Word made flesh is Jesus. Jesus is the Word of God.

A word conveys something about the person who utters the word. A word reveals something about the person that speaks the word. So when the Gospel says that Jesus is the Word of the Father, it means that Jesus is the Father's Word of love to humanity that finds itself in darkness and grip of evil and death. Jesus is the Father's Word of hope of redemption from things that seeks to weaken or destroy humanity. 

The Father never utters a word that could hurt us. The Father's Word in Christ is always love and goodness and grace. Through this Word, John's Gospel tells us, we have all received grace upon grace. 

We carry this Word, Jesus Christ, in our hearts. Therefore, everything that proceeds
forth from our mind and heart and lips must be an expression of Jesus' love. We must
also be careful as to how we, as a community, use the words we speak. We must be on guard against words of intrigue, idle chatter, or worse, criticisms that could discourage
people or gossip that could destroy people and our life as a community. We must guard against speech that is dishonest and lacking in truth; rather, we must speak the truth, and speak it in love. 

Furthermore, we are called forth to speak of this Jesus, the Father's Word of love, not only by our tongues, but by our actions. Just as the Father uttered the Word in the silence of Mary's womb, so we must speak the word of love silently by our actions- whatever it may be- giving food to the hungry, visiting the sick or calling up someone who lives alone and is lonely. 

Like Jesus- by our speech and actions, we can also be the Word of God, the expression of the Father's love.

 

 

©2021 Noel E. Bordador

Noel Bordador is a queer Episcopal priest in the Philippines. He runs Nazareth House, a Catholic Worker House of Hospitality for persons with HIV/AIDS in Manila.


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