We understand the basic function of the tongue in as much as the psalmist understood it a thousand of years ago. One of its functions is to communicate. We use spoken language to express our inner voice and feelings. We communicate better
with the combination of body language and verbal, but body language can never replace the spoken one. We utter sounds to express our inner feelings which come naturally from a very early stage of our life and it is a need. It happens as early as the
very first moments of our life.
Today responsorial psalm says "let my tongue be silenced, if I ever forget you". The psalmist means a person speaks, acts and moves as normal but when it comes to the language of God it is speechless. The language of praising and giving thanks to
God is different from the ordinary language of the world. The former praises God; the latter admires man made. The former advocates for better glory of God; the latter endorses for better popularity. The former promotes the sacrificial God's love for the
world; the latter upholds for personal gain. Above all the psalmist means that a tongue is silenced when it utters words or actions contrary to the teaching of Jesus. It is no matter how loud it speaks or what Bill it passes, for the psalmist their tongues
are silenced because they don't speak the language of God's love.
The verb 'forget' at the second part of the phrase clarifies the meaning of the adjective 'silenced'. The sentence sounds like, when I believe God plays a big part in my life I will remember and constantly praise God. When God becomes a shadow in my life I often put God in the background and let something else dominate my day. How can I forget to praise and give thanks to God when I truly believe everything I have is God's gift. When I have faith in the strength and knowledge of the world, God becomes a shadow. I remember things that really matter to me and forget things that are not. I forget to praise God when I don't have a deep love for God; God becomes irrelevant to my daily business.
True believers give thanks and praise to God daily. When giving thanks and praising God is an option it is a clear sign saying that our inner life towards God is non active, abnormal or even dead. The psalmist vows that he will never forget God. When he doesn't praise God it means his tongue is silenced. For him losing one's voice is worse than death and he would prefer to die rather than losing his voice. To have his voice he will never forget to give thanks to God. The other meaning of the sentence is that the psalmist tongue is silenced when his body is actually dead. In this way he fulfils his promise to praise God all his life.
There is a time when we will be silenced, our tongue can't utter. Jesus gave up his breath on the cross as he spoke about God's love in silence but instead other tongues uttered praise to God. I am referring to the confession the army officer and the soldiers made when they were standing under the foot of the cross. Witnessing the death of Jesus they uttered that this man is the "Son of God" Mat 27,54.
It is unfair to expect someone will praise God for me when I hardly pray for someone else. It is hard for me to speak the language of God if I now don't learn to speak that language. I hope when my tongue is silenced someone would praise God for me and
I pray that I may speak the language of God regularly in my life. It is the language that is active when actions accompanied by words or vice versa.