Do not gossip: It is unChristian.

07-22-2023Weekly ReflectionFr. Robert Aliunzi

Dear Friends,

A few days ago, after Mass, I was chatting with Dave Fesko, the sacristan. He brought about the topic of gossip and how he hated it. I cannot remember how that conversation came about but it inspired this short article. This is because gossip is usually attractive but very toxic and destructive to a community especially when they target the personality of someone or people. Besides, they also break the cardinal virtue of charity. Unfortunately, despite this, gossip happens almost everywhere even in the Church. Therefore, it is a vice which should never be entertained especially in the Church. That is why I always say that if you are tempted to say something bad about somebody, just shut up!

In reflecting further on this topic of gossip, the following story from Pope Francis about Socrates as to why we should not gossip came to my mind. I would like to share this with you. Hope you will find it useful.

In Ancient Greece, Socrates had a great reputation of wisdom. One day, someone came to the great philosopher and said to him:

Do you know what I just heard about your friend?

A moment, replied Socrates. Before you tell me, I would like to test you the three sieves.

The three sieves?

Yes, continued Socrates. Before telling anything about the others, it's good to take the time to filter what you mean. I call it the test of the three sieves. The first sieve is the TRUTH. Have you checked if what you're going to tell me is true?

No, I just heard it.

Very good! So, you don't know if it's true. We continue with the second sieve, that of KINDNESS. What you want to tell me about my friend, is it good?

Oh, no! On the contrary.

So, questioned Socrates, you want to tell me bad things about him and you're not even sure they're true? Maybe you can still pass the test of the third sieve, that of UTILITY. Is it useful that I know what you're going to tell me about this friend?

Not really.

So, concluded Socrates, what you were going to tell me is neither true, nor good, nor useful. Why, then, did you want to tell me this?

Gossip is a bad thing. In the beginning it may seem enjoyable and fun, but in the end, it fills our hearts with bitterness and poisons us, too! It also destroys communities and people.

As your new pastor, while this may not necessarily be a concern in our parish, I would nevertheless, like to encourage us to strive together towards our ultimate goal of reaching heaven – TOGETHER as Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, by being loving to each other. To achieve this, let us continue to assume the best of each other and exercise charity especially towards those we perceive to be weak. And so, if you are tempted to say something bad about somebody, just shut up!

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, I love you!