Words and Actions

The two sons mentioned in today’s gospel are the expression of the polarity of our own struggle. This idea was expressed a long time ago: “One of the great tragedies of life is that men seldom bridge the gulf between practice and profession, between doing and saying. A persistent schizophrenia leaves so many of us tragically divided against ourselves. On the one hand, we proudly profess certain sublime and noble principles, but on the other hand, we sadly practice the very antithesis of these principles.” (Martin Luther King Jr., Strength to Love).

Words without actions and deeds without words. Not one of them is the perfect example of a son. However, we found that perfection in Jesus, in whom each word is confirmed with actions, and everything is in consonance with the will of the Father.

It is not what we say that saves us, but what we do: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. (Mt 7:21).

Words and actions? We all will agree that in order to do good, words are not enough. But we should never underestimate the power of words alone, especially when we criticize someone, or we affirm things about other people. Many times, those who listen don’t know, don’t care, and do not try to find out if it is true. Words in the same way that can edify, enlighten, and encourage could also do great damage to others. For that reason we should be careful to use our words to create and never to destroy.

Actions are necessary if we really want to change or improve ourselves, family, etc… the great virtues as love cannot be conceived in words alone, but in the acts that support those words. It is the same way in our relationship with God. Our prayers and our worship are not enough. They should always have actions.

Sometimes when we ask the question “what is better, words or actions,” we will answer actions. And we all know that “Action speaks louder than words but not nearly as often.” (Mark Twain).

But to be truthful, no one should choose between words or action. It should always be words AND actions, because each one of them alone is incomplete without the other as a soul without a body.

I encourage you to use your words to lift people up which is better than putting them down, to create which is better life than to destroy and to think of consequences of your words because they can mark the life of someone you love, for good or for bad. But at the same time to sustain, and support every word with the concurrent action, that what our words started will be completed by our actions.

– Fr. Sergio