“If we are a little envious of one person or another, we don’t contain our envy but sometimes share it with others by speaking badly about the person. This is how gossip seeks to grow and spread to another person and yet another. This is the way gossip works, and we have all been tempted to gossip. I too have been tempted to gossip! It is a daily temptation that begins slowly, like a trickle of water. This is why we have to be careful when we feel something in our heart that would lead to destroying people, destroying reputations, destroying our lives, leading us into worldliness and sin. We must be careful because if we do not stop ourselves in time, that trickle of water, when it grows and spreads, will become a tidal wave that leads us to justify ourselves, just as the people from the day’s Gospel justified themselves and eventually said of Jesus: “It is better that one man die for the people.”—Pope Francis
The tension in the Gospel of John, even more than in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, is that from the beginning, Jesus is clearly the Messiah, the Christ, the Son of God. If all we have are the Synoptic Gospels, we can almost be persuaded that Jesus of Nazareth was a good and holy man who went about the countryside teaching people about God, healing their diseases, and preaching a moral lifestyle. In the Gospel of John, we have to wrestle with the fact that this good and holy man is in fact the human manifestation of the one, true God. And yet, Pope Francis always finds a way of bringing lofty theology to a level where we can see clearly how it can have an impact on our everyday lives. One of his frequent themes is the danger of gossip. Here he reminds us that our very tendency to dismiss it as a minor failing belies the danger it can have in disrupting relationships, social structures, and ultimately lives.
We have opportunities every single day to say no to gossip. Find a way to pay attention to those opportunities for the next few days. You might want to keep a paper tally, a click of a counter app on your phone, moving a small item (a paperclip, a pebble, a dried bean) from one pocket to another. Just the act of noting these times may be enough of a reminder not to indulge in this seemingly minor sin.
— from the book The Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis
by Diane M. Houdek