The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart (Rom 10:8).
As a little girl, I could always tell when my mom had stubbed her toe. We would hear a crash from the other room followed by, “Praise you, Jesus!” Then, “I’m okay.” When I was learning the Ten Commandments, I asked her if that wasn’t using God’s name in vain? “No,” she answered decidedly. “I am choosing to praise God in my suffering. I really mean it.”
It wasn’t until much later in my sheltered life that I learned the type of words that most people shout when they stub their toes. It was then that I appreciated the words that Mom chose to have near her—in her mouth and in her heart—words of praise for Jesus.
The second reading today tells us that “the word is near you.”
Jesus is the Word made flesh. His name has power to save us, to heal us, to accompany us.
Daily, I realize that the words that are near me matter. When I feel impatient with my kids, a deep breath and a silent, “Help me, Jesus,” can reorient my thinking. Every little scrape and bruise is an opportunity to pray over my child for healing, “Please, Jesus, make it feel better.” Finding a lost toy brings on a chorus of, “Thank you, Jesus!” These little moments of keeping the Word in our mouths and hearts may seem insignificant, but it really matters what our first instinct is when we don’t have time to gather our thoughts.
I remember reading a testimony years ago—the details of which have almost entirely faded away—by a man who escaped from a terrible plane crash. As the cabin burst into flames around him, he instinctively cried out, “Praise you, Jesus! Help me, Lord!” He was saved but was saddened that many died, and many of those who died were screaming terrible words in their final moments. The Word was near him.
So I, like my mom, shout, “Praise you Jesus!” when I stub my toe. I call upon his name when I struggle with little moments throughout my day. I teach my children to keep Jesus close, to keep his Word and his name in their mouths and in their hearts.
All day, in every little moment, Jesus, the Word, is close to us—he loves us—we are in his heart, too.