Overcoming Harsh Words

Friday, December 9, 2016

Friday of the Second Week of Advent

Saint Juan Diego, Hermit – Optional Memorial

“For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said, ‘He is possessed by a demon.’ The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said, ‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard, a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’” Matthew 11:18-19a


Yuck. What we have here is the ugly sin of calumny. Calumny is the intentional twisting of facts so as to misrepresent the truth. Basically, calumny is a lie meant to do harm to another.

Jesus points out that both He and John the Baptist were ridiculed and falsely accused of being sinful. John, for example, fasted much which was quite virtuous. But the Pharisees interpreted it as the work of the devil. Jesus spent time at many people’s homes as a guest and He was accused of being a glutton and drunkard.

When someone gives into calumny, they often look at some virtue in another and twist it some way so as to deceive and misrepresent the truth. And it is often done out of envy or jealousy.

This sad situation should be an opportunity for each of us to look at how honest we are in our relations with one another. When you see goodness in another are you able to rejoice in that fact? Are you able to honestly give thanks to God for their goodness? Or do you immediately start to interpret their virtue in a false way.

Reflect, today, upon the way you look at others around you and, especially, how you speak about them. Look at their virtue and try to honestly honor them for it. And if you see yourself falling into any form of jealousy or envy, surrender it over to our merciful God so that it doesn’t turn into the ugly sin of calumny.

Lord, help me to see others in the light of humility and truth. Help me to see their goodness and virtue and to rejoice in it. Strip from me any falsity and calumny. Jesus, I trust in You.

See also: Daily Reflection on Divine Mercy