“Falsehood flies, and truth comes limping after it, so that when men come to be undeceived, it is too late; the jest is over, and the tale has had its effect: like a man, who has thought of a good repartee when the discourse is changed, or the company parted; or like a physician, who has found out an infallible medicine, after the patient is dead.”
This thought-provoking comment comes from the bountiful pen of that pastor who was not afraid to challenge his readers: the Rev Jonathan Swift (1667-1745).
We might not tell blatant lies frequently but, if we are honest, do we listen to or share pieces of gossip? “Wait til I tell you” … “Don’t say I said this but …”. “There is a rumour going round that…”
Once it is uttered, then it may be impossible to retract.
Reflecting on the first parable from Matthew’s Gospel, do I plant ‘darnel’ among the wheat of good conversation?
It may be easier and no doubt necessary to point out utterances of misinformation or misleading comments, or fake news from people in public life. But that does not excuse us from pointing the searchlight on ourselves and our utterances.
Let us be guided by the wisdom of the third parable in today’s Gospel. It is better to share good yeast for the baking of nourishing bread than to ruin the crop of wheat with harmful ‘darnel’.
Listen, anyone who has ears.