This Sunday’s readings remind us that our words and actions reflect the reality of our inner selves. Even as we pray and long to live the values of Jesus, our speech may betray the ways in which we have yet to be fully converted, and show our need for God’s mercy.

The First Reading encourages us to be discriminating in conversation with others, noticing the quality and content of another’s speech before choosing to imitate them.

The Gospel invites us to have Jesus for our teacher and guide: ‘the fully trained disciple will always be like their teacher’. We are reminded to avoid the temptation to follow others blindly or to criticise them when our own faults are much more evident. Our lives will reflect our own purity of heart and likeness to Jesus.

Whilst this may seem a hard teaching and difficult to put into practice, St Paul tells us that we should never give up, never admit defeat, because, while we are working at the Lord’s work, we can never be labouring fruitlessly. God will always give us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ! (Second Reading)

And so we can recite the Psalm with joy, offering praise and thanks to the Lord, who sustains those who place their trust in God. Rooted in Jesus, we will flourish like a palm tree by an oasis or a sturdy Lebanon cedar. We will proclaim the goodness of God.