Deacon Steven Johnson’s Reflection – January 20, 2022
2nd Week Ordinary Time, Thursday, Year C
Readings: 1 Sm 18:6-9, 19:1-7, Ps 56:2-3,9-10a,10b-11,12-13, Gospel Mk 3:7-12
Optional Memorial of St. Fabian Pope & Martyr, St. Sebastian Martyr
Theme: Actions Speak Louder Than Words
We have all heard the saying, “Actions speak louder than words.” In today’s readings this phrase rings true. David’s actions, through his bravery and faith that God was with him when confronting the Philistine, showed the Israelites the strength of God wrought through faith. The same can be said of Jesus. Through His curing of the sick, restoring sight to the blind and casting out demons, Jesus showed both Jew and Gentile His mighty power in these actions.
It’s one thing to be persuaded by speech alone. It is a completely different thing when that speech is manifested in a complimentary action of faith and courage. The action solidifies the words and they become cemented in the minds of those who witness it. David spoke his words of a soldier’s commitment to Saul in his desire to confront the Philistine. That in itself speaks volumes about David’s character. But, to put those words into action, with full belief in those words, reveals the complete countenance given him by God himself. It cemented the entire affair in the minds and hearts of the people who witnessed it and so they wanted to follow him.
For Jesus, many times this process of words, then actions, are reversed. Jesus would first take action (healing or casting out a demon), then provide the words to put meaning to that action, one that often brought many to silence who questioned what He was doing.
In both the words and actions of David and that of Jesus, many people were drawn to them and followed them. So much so that it created resentment and jealousy in others who had hoped for that same following. This was the case for King Saul in David’s time and for the Pharisees, Herodians, and Sadducees in Jesus’s time. For these people, it is not about faith or happiness in doing good by concurring the enemy or healing of souls, it is about earthly desires, accolades, and pride. They are only thinking of themselves, and it leads them down a dark path of evil intentions.
For us today we can learn from David and Jesus that our words should be backed up by our actions. Through these words and actions, we bring many along with us. It is like the old saying “talk the talk and walk the walk.” Speaking well and having good things to say is good, but they can be meaningless if there are no actions, or worse, an opposite action that opposes those words. Most people can tell the difference between flowery words and fake commitment and righteous words and true faith in living them out. People will not follow the former but only the latter. God is expecting us, as His disciples, to do the latter.