Commentary on the Gospel of

John Shea, S.J.-Creighton University's Biology Department

So often I don’t know what to say. I’ve often wished for the innate ability to know what to say, how to say it, when to say it and to whom to say it.

Imagine unfaithful Israel in today’s first reading. They turned away from God and sought salvation in Assyria’s military and political strength. They turned away from God and sought salvation by worshipping false gods. They are a nation in need of healing and forgiveness. What do you say to them?

Fortunately, the Hosea gives an action plan: “Return, O Israel, to the Lord, your God.”

And even provides the Israelites a script: “Take with you words, and return to the Lord; Say to him, ‘Forgive all iniquity, / and receive what is good…’”

But is life that easy? How often am I in situations where words fail me? How often do I wish for a script? The perfect reply to a difficult scenario. The comforting response to an impossible situation:

The student who learns that his mother violently took her life by shooting herself.

The mourning family that lost their daughter who was struck and killed by a car.

The young woman who, through tears of sorrow, confesses a recent abortion.

I have no words for such events. I know that, with my own power, I will never have an adequate response to the profound tragedies life brings. So I find solace in the words of Jesus: “do not worry about how you are to speak or what you are to say. You will be given at that moment what you are to say. For it will not be you who speak but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.”

My only response is to give myself to the Holy Spirit, asking for guidance and the necessary words.


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