Gospel: Lk 17:7-10
Who among you would say to your servant, coming in from the fields after plowing or tending sheep, ‘Go ahead and have your dinner’? No, you tell him, ‘Prepare my dinner. Put on your apron, and wait on me while I eat and drink. You can eat and drink afterward.’ Do you thank this servant for doing what you told him to do? I don’t think so. And therefore, when you have done all that you have been told to do, you should say, ‘We are no more than servants; we have only done our duty.’”
In today’s first reading we see the apostle Paul giving advice to various groups of Christians. Perhaps it is revealing, in this connection, that the first advice he gives to each group seems to fit that group particularly well. Thus he exhorts Titus to tell the older men to be sober. Why this advice? Because older men can easily become alcoholics if they are not careful, as we all know. The young men, on the other hand, are told to be self-controlled. A good advice for young males with hot blood in their veins, who are tempted to brag, to attempt dangerous stunts, run after skirts, etc.
But the third group, the older women, are told to abstain from gossip. Ah, gossip! Who among us does not enjoy to pass on a juicy tidbit of gossip? And, if someone approaches us with the magic words, “Did you know what X did yesterday?” how can we restrain our curiosity? Yet gossip is the most insidious poison of charity. It destroys reputations like nothing else. And it is spread under the pretext that “I am only telling the truth about people.”
We all know the expression “character assassination.” Well, gossip kills. No Christian should indulge in it or encourage it in any way.