St. Michael's Parish - Cobourg

 

On Gossiping                                                                      -Homily August 31/September 7, 2014

 

Unity in the Church comes from the Trinity. We share in the unity of communion of the three divine Persons. They are onething, not simply a community. This is the unity we have to have among us. I share with you the reflections of Pope Francis in his Catechesis a few days ago.

 

The first Christians, in the Acts of the Apostles, were “one heart and one soul”. The apostle Paul exhorted his communities to be “one body.”

 

The historical experience, nevertheless, also tells us of many “sins against unity.”Not only the great schisms, but also little and common faults in our communities. “Parish sins”, says the Pope. “At times our parishes, called to be places of sharing and communion, are sadly marked by envies, jealousies, rivalries…”

 

“Gossiping is always at hand, for everyone. How much we gossip in our parishes! Is this good or it is not good? Is it good? And if one is elected president of that association, some gossip against him. And if that another woman is elected president of catechesis, the others gossip against her.”

 

“But, this is not the Church, is it? “ said the Holy Father. “This should not happen! We must not do it, we must not do it! I don't tell you to cut your tongue, no, no, don't go that far... But ask from the Lord the grace not to do it any longer.”“To gossip is human, yes, but this is not Christian!”

 

Why does gossiping happen? “When we aim to the first positions; when we give the first place toourselves, our personal ambitions and our own views, and we judge others; when we look at the defects of our brothers and sisters, instead of looking at their talents [or good deeds or good intentions, we may add]; when we give more weight to what divides us, instead of giving more importance to what unites us…”

 

“In the other diocese that I had before, I heard once an interesting and beautiful comment. It was about an elderly woman who had worked at the parish her whole life. A person who knew her well said: 'This woman has never gossiped, has never spoken ill of anyone, she was always smiley'. I tell you, a woman like that can be canonized tomorrow! But, the important thing is this: this is beautiful, it is a beautiful example!”

 

“In a Christian community, the division is one of the most serious sins”, that makes it a sign “not of the work of God, but of that of the devil”, who is by definition “he who separates, who destroys relationships”. 

 

With sincerity “let us ask forgiveness for every time when we have been occasion of division or incomprehension within our communities. We have to understand well that we do not reach communion but through a continuous conversion.”

 

But “what is conversion?” It is simply to turn to the Lord and say: “Give me the grace not to gossip, not to criticize, to care for everyone”. “It is a grace that comes from the Lord.” In this prayer, then, we also add the request “that the daily fabric of our relationships may become more and more a beautiful and cheerful reflectionof the relationshipbetween Jesus and his Father.” -Fr. Andrew

 

 

Other reflections on gossiping

 

“What do you do when you find sin or mistakes in your brothers and sisters? If you know the person who can fix it, tell it to that person. Sometimes is the very person who sins, sometimes it is his or her parent or boss. If you will not tell it to the person who can fix it, keep it for yourself. Don’t spread the word, don’t judge, keep it for yourself. One day, perhaps God will do the same with your own sins.”

 

It is a good reflection, because we will always find something wrong in our neighbour. The Church is like a building made of stones, and each of us is one of those stones, some of us harder than others… But there is one cement, one mortar that puts all those stones together, and it is forgiveness. May the Lord help us to forgive, and to use our tongue only for good. One day the Lord will do the same for us.–Fr. Andrew