Speeches, speeches, speeches… We listen to so many of them! Sometimes we are disgusted by them. We walk down the street and see all the enticements in the shops. Sign after sign, picture after picture… We get our minds boggled by the music because there’s a different style playing everywhere. We finally get in the car to go home, to peace and quiet. And as soon as we get in the car, we turn on the radio. We get home and immediately sit down in front of the TV. Talking everywhere…, constantly feeling the need to listen to something or someone. But how to hear? As soon as we think more about the talk, we find it empty. All promises, beautiful visions, advertisements… but the reality of the beauty promised is missing.

“But on the day of Herod’s birthday, the daughter of Herodias danced in the circle of guests, and Herod was so pleased with her that he promised to give her on oath whatever she would ask” (Mt. 14:6). Herod, too, begins to speak just when he would rather be silent. He gives his word, he makes a promise, and even under oath, though he does not know for what purpose it will ever be used. When we fiddle with words, it most often doesn’t turn out well. When Herod heard of Christ, he immediately had John the Baptist in mind. Here we are shown how strongly our past is tied to our present. Our past, perhaps long forgotten events of our lives, are revealed to us in the sight of Jesus Christ and his love.

Let us be very careful what we let out of our mouths. Every word spoken carries weight and power. Let us be cautious in our speech, lest we be convicted by our own terms! And not by someone else, but by ourselves.

If we forget ourselves and speak more than we need to, let us be people on the spot even then. Let us not put anything off, and if we have offended, slandered, or made fun of someone, let us apologize. Let us purify the environment in which we live by clarifying our own speech. Let us constantly review what we are going to say, but equally, let us also review back what we have said. Our intent can sometimes sound like Herod’s – `wanted to reward and killed’.

Let us live, so we can say with the psalmist: “`My mouth speaks wisdom, and my heart meditates on what is reasonable. To proverbs, I incline my ear.

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