Gospel: Lk 9:18-22
One day, when Jesus was praying alone, not far from his disciples, he asked them, “What do people say about me?” And they answered, “Some say, that you are John the Baptist; others say, that you are Elijah; and still others, that you are one of the prophets of old, risen from the dead.” Again Jesus asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered, “The Messiah of God.” Then Jesus spoke to them, giving them strict orders not to tell this to anyone.
And he added, “The Son of Man must suffer many things. He will be rejected by the elders and chief priests and teachers of the law, and be put to death. Then after three days he will be raised to life.”
In today’s first reading, an excerpt from the Book of Ecclesiastes, we hear this wise man tell us that there is a time for everything and, among other things, “a time to be silent and a time to speak.” Perhaps we could reflect on this last statement.
Silence is a condition of creativity, of deep prayer, of the attainment of wisdom. Silence is also needed to keep secrets told to us in confidence, to protect other people’s reputation, to keep oneself from indulging in petty quarrels, etc.
But silence has limits. There are times when we must speak up. One of them is surely when we must express our religious convictions, sometimes running great risks in the process, as in times of religious persecution, for example (cf. 2 Cor 4:13; Acts 4:20). Another instance when speaking is imperative when too much silence can ruin a marriage. Some marriages die simply from lack of communication. Another time to speak is to denounce wrongdoing. If I am a witness to a wrongdoing and do not protest against it, I become its accomplice because silence gives consent. We should not be silent when we witness, for example, child abuse, battered wives, bullying of any kind, vicious gossip, political tyranny, etc.
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