Pope Francis resumed his daily homilies in the chapel of the St. Martha House yesterday, the Vatican guest house which is usually home to visiting clergy and to many every-day Vatican staffers where the Holy Father has chosen to live. Yesterday's message at daily Mass centered on the danger of gossip to a Christian, and the harm that it can do to society, with Francis reminding his hearers that "words can kill," Vatican Radio reported.
The Pope reflected on yesterday's Gospel (Luke 4:16-30), wherein Jesus returned to him hometown of Nazareth and was rejected by the people after delivering the message to them that he was the Christ, a message that they failed to accept it. "They wanted a spectacle," the Pope explained. "'Work a miracle and we will all believe in you,' but Jesus is not a performing artist."
They were all so angry that they stood up and led Jesus to the brow of the hill that they might thrown him down headlong and kill him," Francis pointed out. The Pope said that the same thing can happen to us every day when we "kill" someone through our gossip or our ill-intended words. “It happens every day”, he said, “in our heart, in our communities”, whenever we welcome someone speaking well of him the first day and then ever worse of him, until we descend to such gossip as almost to 'banish him.'"
"The person in a community who spreads rumours against a brother ends by wanting to kill him," the Holy Father preached, “the Apostle John in chapter 3 of his First Letter, in verse 15, tells us this: anyone who hates his brother is a murderer. We are used to gossip, to the spread of rumours, and we often transform our communities as well as our family into 'hell' where this kind of crime that leads to killing one’s brother and sister with one’s tongue is manifest."
“In order that there may be peace in a community, in a family, in a country, in the world," the Holy Father said, "we must start by being with the Lord. And where the Lord is there is no envy, there is no crime, there is no jealousy; there is brotherhood. Let us ask this of the Lord: never to kill our neighbour with our tongue, and to be with the Lord just as we shall all be in heaven."