"All spoke highly of him and were amazed at the gracious words that came from his mouth." (Luke 4:22)
These words from today's Gospel are ones that you probably do not hear very often. Graciousness, it seems, has disappeared from public discourse and, indeed, most private conversations as well. We seem to take more pleasure from finding fault with everyone and everything, and then letting everyone within earshot know our thoughts. Maybe it was also rare in the days of the Lord, since we are told that the people were "amazed" by His words.
It might do us well to look at the roots of the very word "gracious" in order to better understand. At its heart, the word conveys the meaning of grace-filled or godly. In a world were pleasantries are often neglected, it is much less likely that our words would reflect God's presence. How sad.
I believe that we are all called to try and change this negativity that permeates our environment. And we can start by being more careful about the words we use in our everyday speech. Whenever someone begins gossiping about another, add something positive about that person to the conversation. When you visit someone or someone comes to visit you, make a special effort to keep the conversation positive. Don't give in to the temptation to engage in the petty complaining that can seem so easy. And speak often of how God is acting in your life, sharing with others the great things He has done for you.
Perhaps today we can try and allow only gracious words escape our lips. And you know what? People will be amazed!