Pope Francis has not minced words when it comes to the sin of gossip, speaking about its perils on multiple occasions: In one homily he likened the act of gossip to Judas’ betrayal of the Lord, saying that when we gossip about someone we are turning them into a “commodity” and selling them for 30 pieces of silver, which is the pleasure or other gain we receive through the gossip. On another occasion, he warned that slander is a grave sin which “wants to destroy God’s work and is spawned by something very nasty… by hatred.” Finally, in a separate homily, he explains that the consequence of gossip is to “transform our communities as well as our family into ‘hell’ . The Pope cautions that none of us are exempt from this sin and that he himself is tempted by it each day.YIKES! It gets worse…If you think the Pope’s words are tough – read these words of the Lord, who doesn’t limit his warnings to gossip, but rather casts a much broader net to include “every careless word”.OUCH! Meditating on this Scripture brings to mind a barrage of images of myself in a variety of life situations where I have let loose with careless words including:a snippy, unkind remark made to my husband an exasperated “Why can’t you guys just be quiet for one.single.minute!” shout at my childrena brusque “I’m really busy Mom- gottta go…” followed by a quick hang-up to my Moma snarky comment made to a friend about a mutual acquaintance’s perceived faultand the insidious, “I don’t mean to gossip, but…..” followed by a “charitable” discussion of someone else’s life which is frankly, none of my beeswax…The idea of rendering an account of each and every one of these situations to the Lord leaves me with a sick feeling in my stomach, especially considering the fact that the above examples are not exactly

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