In today's Gospel (Mark 4: 21-25), the Lord's speaks about not hiding your lamp under a basket, but putting it out for all to see, making visible what is hidden. He then tells his disciples: "The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you, and still more will be given to you." As I pondered how to apply these words to my life, the idea of gossip came to mind.
I think that gossip ultimately stems from a desire to point out differences and distract attention from our own failings onto the failings or foibles of another. You never hear anyone gossiping talk about being the same as the person who is the topic of conversation. I always speak about what THEY do or how THEY do it. And if you were to interpret the first part of the Gospel ("nothing hidden except to be made visible") as applying only to the other, is might be seen as a fulfillment of this passage. But when we look at the second part ("The measure with which you measure will be measured out to you") we realize that we might not be too keen on having this passage fulfilled!
I certainly do not want others talking about me the way I speak about them. In fact, no one who gossips really believes that they themselves are the target of gossip. For the most part, we assume that others agree with our point of view, and if they don't, they are wrong and should change their minds. I don't know about you, but this is definitely one of my faults and something I definitely need to work on. When I really sit back and reflect, I shudder to think what others might be saying about me - my decisions; my reactions to people and situations; the things I say and do.
Today's Gospel really gives me pause. What do I do when I hear not so nice things about another? What measure am I using when speaking about others? How loving am I in my observations? Would I want the same standard applied to myself? Yes, what is hidden will be revealed, but in most cases I probably am not the one who should reveal it. And if I do, I must be ready to have the same standard applied to me and what is hidden in my life. So take care what you hear, and be cautious about repeating it!