Tuning Out a Wordy World

It’s been said that we live in a very “wordy world.” Every day we’re bombarded with words from TV, radio, the internet, billboards, road signs, t-shirts, bumper stickers, and goodness knows what else. We can’t even go to the beach without seeing airplanes dragging banners advertising beer or seafood.

Because we’re so inundated by them, words can often lose their power for us. We say things like, “Talk is cheap” or “They’re only words” or “Words don’t mean anything.” What a contrast to the situation described in today’s gospel, in which Jesus spoke at a synagogue.  We’re told that people were “astonished at his teaching” and that they said to one another, “What is there about his word?”

It’s interesting that we aren’t told much of what Jesus actually said except for the command: “Be quiet!” These words were initially directed to a demon! But perhaps we can understand them as the Holy Spirit’s little reminder to us today to “tune out” our “wordy world” and spend a moment in quiet reflection on Holy Scripture, that the amazing, astonishing, authoritative, life-giving words of Jesus- the Word made flesh- might resound in our hearts.

Readings for today’s Mass: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/083011.cfm

Photo Credit: Terwilliger911 via Creative Commons

3 Replies to “Tuning Out a Wordy World”

  1. Whoever first claimed that we live in a “wordy world” must have spent some time around my chatterbox of a daughter. As soon as a thought forms in her mind it comes out of her mouth! 😉

    Speaking of words losing power, consider the proliferation of profanity. I cringe when I hear someone who is unable to speak a complete sentence without a curse word. It seems the use of curse words in movies and TV shows has become gratuitous. Really, if one uses a curse word for every third adjective or noun, how is anyone to know when one is REALLY angry, or upset, or expressing a VERY strongly held opinion? Curse words are for cursing.

  2. Cynthia- Amen! I agree wholeheartedly with your comments about the proliferation of foul language. And as you have a daughter, I imagine you cringe when she’s exposed to them.

    And for the “wordy world” comments, I believe I first heard that on a tape by Fr. Henri Nouwen.

  3. When c was a kindergartner she watched as I put on my earrings.

    c: Mommy, did it hurt when you got your ears pierced?
    me: A little bit.
    c: Did you cry?
    me: I was a grownup, so I just said a bad word.
    c: What was the bad word?
    me: I’m not telling you.
    c: But I want to know.
    me: I’ll tell you when you’re 18.

    c was determined not to wait that long. Several months later:

    c: Will you tell me NOW what the bad word is?
    me: WHAT bad word?
    c: What you said when your ears were pierced.
    me: NO. When you’re 18.
    c: How about when I’m 10?
    me: No!

    c’s determination continued, and the above conversation was repeated every few months, at random times.

    When she turned 8, I took c to get her ears pierced.

    c: NOW can I know the bad word?
    me: No.
    c: (crossly) well then maybe I’ll have to cry REALLY LOUD.
    me: Then everyone will think you’re TOO LITTLE to have your ears pierced.
    c: (scowl) ok but I will FIND OUT EVENTUALLY.

    Several weeks later, c was in the car with me when some jerkwad tried to drive into my lane while I was still in it. I said the Bad Word. Fortunately, c was listening to music on her MP3 player, and not paying attention to me at all. 🙂 🙂 🙂

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