By: The Rev. Fr. Hermogenes P. Verano, DPA
Mission Priest, Diocese of Greater Manila Area

Words are conceived by us. Conception means something that is borne-out from us. We give birth to them. A concept is a notion or idea. Theoretically, words are ideas. Ideas, in Latin derivatively mean "eidos" or "images." We give images to what we think. But the question is, "Is there truth in our words or is it just a bluff?"

Sometimes owning words and standing up for them are quite a problem. Now we say them but later we deny them. Oftentimes, we are so determined with our words but when confronted in its veracity, we clamp up and scuttle them. When pushed to the wall, we resort to rationalization and blame others to save our skin.

Our politicians are used to mince words literally and connotatively. Aplenty during elections, they are very good in applying the idea of empty promises, wooing people to vote for them because they can deliver this and that for change. Promising up high heavens, they utter words which are purely rhetorical as if they are in a declamation contest. They are fiery with much elocution, floating many images like balloons in the air. There is one presidential candidate whose terms are full of hot air and exaggeration like they can be done through a magic wand. Unfortunately, they make promises that they cannot keep. Anyway, as the cliche says, "Promises are made to be broken." Really? St. James disagrees (James 4: 13-16): “As it is, you boast in your arrogance; all such boasting is evil. Anyone who knows the right thing to do and fails to do it commits sin.” All these empty promises are rampant during election times.

We can find many people in our midst who resort to mudslinging, character assassinations and half-truths to smear others. They can be a politician running for a public office, a leader in the community, an officer in an organization, a member of the academe, or even a leader in the church/Church. Pushing for a hidden agenda, they use tactics which are cunning in order just to obtain their personal objectives. St. James warns against the sins of the tongue, whether it is false teachings or advocacies, or false accusations against others (James 3:1ff).  

Words are like badges of honor. "Words that come out of someone especially a public official are words embedded in his heart, mind, and conscience. They signal the ingrained attitudes and world view of a person mouthing them and once said they formed the outlines of the over-all philosophy and approach to governance” (PDI, At Large, 4/24/16).

We should be stickler of propriety, honesty, and sincerity. Our Supreme Advocate Jesus is our model par excellence in these virtues in our actions and in our words, “Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:37) 

Whether ethically or biblically, the human words are the virtuous marks of our spiritual beings.  Gone are the days when valuable traits like “Palabra de Honor” and “Man of Words” are properly and perfectly executed.  Where are our most vaunted values where respect and integrity are more precious and priceless?  Have we turned deaf to St. James and to our Lord Jesus? 



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