3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time B21
Words have consequences. One of those consequences is that they lead to actions. We saw that a little over two weeks ago when our Capitol building was stormed by a mob of so-called “patriots”, incited by a barrage of words over the last few months that they had come to believe.
Words have consequences. One of those consequences is that they lead to actions. We read about that in today’s 1st reading from the Book of Jonah. Jonah was a reluctant prophet, sent to the capitol city of a hated enemy to announce the destruction of that city. I imagine he would be overjoyed to bring that message! But his words led to an action he did not expect. After one day of Jonah’s preaching, the Ninevites proclaimed a fast and turned from their evil ways with the result that God abandoned his plans of destruction. What a turn of events! The people of Nineveh listened to a foreign prophet of a god they did not worship.
Words have consequences. One of those consequences is that they lead to actions. In the Gospel, The Word made flesh issues an invitation, “Come after me”, to Simon, Andrew, James, and John; and, they leave their nets and thus their livelihoods to follow him. A few verses later, we learn Simon had a mother-in-law whom he was taking care of. When Simon followed Jesus it meant that he had to leave her. James and John left their father Zebedee in the boat along with hired men and followed Jesus.
On this 3rd Sunday in Ordinary Time, Pope Francis asks us to consider more deeply the Word of God found in the Scriptures, to dedicate more time to reading and studying it, to recognize its importance in our lives and the life of the Church especially in the Mass in which we are fed with the Word and the Bread, both of which causes us to be united in one faith. But as The Letter of James states: “Be doers of the word and not hearers only” and “not a hearer who forgets but a doer who acts, such a one shall be blessed.”
Words have consequences. One of those consequences is that they lead to actions. If that is true of human words which sometimes mislead us, it is all the more true of God’s words that are always life-giving.
St. Paul has some advice for us who are living in this time of endless words:
“Never let evil talk pass your lips; say only the good things men need to hear things that will really help them. Do nothing that will sadden the Holy Spirit with whom you were sealed against the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, all passion and anger, harsh words, slander, and malice of every kind. In place of these, be kind to one another, compassionate, and mutually forgiving, just as God has forgiven you in Christ.
Words have consequences. One of those consequences is that they lead to actions.
 Since there’s no mention of a wife or a child, we can assume that Simon was widowed and childless.
 I have a mental image of a stunned Zebedee with tears rolling down his cheeks erasing the words “and Sons” from the sign he had hung on his fishing shack.
 James 1:22, 25, The New American Bible, © 1970 by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.
 Ephesians 4:29-32, The New American Bible, © 1970 by the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Washington, D.C.