Happy Pentacost! I was reflecting today about a recent spat I had with some deacons in my diocese. The details about the spat are unimportant. What I was thinking about is how our discussion, in regard to the matter, quickly declined and become mean spirited, condescending, and lacking in respect (I know, it sounds like family.). It ended with the deacon running out his office and into the hallway to throwout the last insult at me before I got too far out of ear shot.
In light of this Sunday's readings at mass, particularly the first reading from Acts, I could not help but notice how different the tongues of fire were from both the deacon's and my own tongue. I could not help notice how different the Apostle's tongues were from both the deacon's and my own tongue. In the case of the Holy Spirit and the Apostles, those were tongues of charity, tongues of love. Both the deacon's and my own weren't nearly as kind to each other. But what was different between the deacon and myself when compared to the apostles (besides the fact that the apostles are saints) is that the Apostles knew that even though the Holy Spirit gave them tongues of fire they need not burn others with it. Even though the Word might be a sword, we need not use it to slay our fellow Christians. These things are instruments to use as a means to help others obtain salvation.
Next time I find myself in a spat, I will be more diligent and prudent about my choice of words so as to not burn anyone with my own tongue.