Back in the day parents had funny things they said to children.
- If they thought you were always asking for money they would say “do you think money grows on trees”.
- If their child or young person was rushing them to do something “do you think I have 2 pair if hands?”
- If they were listening into adult’s conversations, they would say to other adults in code “walls have ears and pigs can speak”.
- A classic I have told you a million and one times stop exaggerating
- Your eyes will turn square if you keep watching the TV
- You can’t pull the wool, over my eyes
- If your friend jumped I the river would you jump in it too.
- I have a bone to pick with you.
- Act your age not your sure size
There is no doubt that these are strange things to say. But locked in each of them is a nugget of wisdom. A pearl of good advice. Hard fought for a won experience. Something to be passed onto someone else.
Money doesn’t grow on trees, there are some things that can’t be rushed, you should be careful what children hear and are capable of repeating, you shouldn’t follow what others do, people can’t be fooled, be mature.
In each of these is a nugget of wisdom – worth following and worth passing into others.
This seems to be exactly what the readings are saying. Its all about wise sayings and passing that onto others.
That first reading seems to contain a warning when using words. Words can show you up. Words can show the quality of your character. Words that you use can tell more about you than you might think they do or want to show about you.
Be careful in the words that you use.
Its good advice. Watch out for angry word that are hard to take back. Hasty words that pass judgment. Watch out for insensitive words that are hard to take back. Be careful of extreme words that make things out to be black and white. Be careful of words that mislead others.
Words that come from your mouth are hard to take back. The reading says we have to train our tongue, not to run away. Good advice how many times we wish we could have unsaid something. How many times we feel our words have let us down.
In the Gospel does not Jesus offer wise words:
- Can one blind man guide another, surely both will fall in the pit
- Why do you see the splinter in your brother’s eye but miss the plank in your own
- No sound tree produces rotten fruit. No rotten tree produces sound fruit
- People don’t pick figs from thorns or grapes from brambles.
Jesus is doing exactly the same he is the wise man offering wise advice. He is the sage who offers nuggets of wisdom. A word about not following others blindly, a word about the dangers of judging, a word about where good things come from, a word about where to find good in your life. Wise words.
Most of us didn’t really listen to our parents when they were saying those things to us. We think that they don’t know much. But it is strange how the things they said go in and stick. We remember them these years later and what’s more we find ourselves repeating them to others. The nuggets turn out to be exactly that things that lodge in the mind and the heart.
The word of God sometimes turns out to be that, a wise word. We think that we are not listening and yet those words get into our heart and mind. They have way of becoming the wise words that we follow. The nuggets that direct our life. The things we turn to in dark moments, in times when they way ahead seems unclear.
God’s wise word has entered into our heart and mind in ways that we didn’t think it could, or has or would.
One of the things that the ancients wanted but we don’t think much about was to be wise. But in actual fact we are no different from them. Who wants to be foolish or reckless or thoughtless. Most of us want to understand things, to be perceptive, to have a clear mind, to weigh things up and take the right road and make the right decision. We want to know things, act properly, do things right. These are the actions of the wise person.
In former times you kept your eye on a wise person, you listened to their wise counsel, you followed them.
Search out the wise woman or man, do what they do, listen to their advice, follow what they have to say.
That seems good advice.