Good morning, happy Friday, and many blessings.
Today’s Gospel (Luke 6:39-42) gives us some of the passages of the discourse which Jesus pronounced on the plain after having spent the night in prayer and after He had called the twelve to be His apostles. Many of the sayings in this discourse had already been pronounced on other occasions, but Luke, imitating Matthew, puts them together in this Sermon on the Plain.
Today’s Gospel invites us to a simple examination of our life under a couple of headings which are proposed in colorful style. How do I see Christ as my teacher? How do I check how operative he is in my life as ‘my teacher’? We are all given to noting the defects of others more readily than my own. How do I guard against this tendency?
It can be a common weakness to judge my neighbor while not recognizing my own faults and need of God’s mercy. God sees each of us from the inside. He sees us with a generous and compassionate gaze and does not despise or condemn us for our shortcomings and failings. I pray for humility and for a deeper capacity to perceive God’s presence and action around me.
We like to guide and correct people. It gives us a bit of status. This means of course that we are quick to see the flaws in others. I wonder how much of our conversation is focused on the failings of public figures and of those close to us.
Jesus doesn’t deny that people have failings, but he invites me to look to my own blind spots first. If the just person falls seven times, how often do I fall? Jesus uses humor to make his point. He invites me to imagine how many people I would be hurting if I had a log attached to my eye!
Allow me to remind you that Jesus spoke these words as a result of the offence of the Pharisees. They would not listen to His Words or believe His doctrine, they remained blind guides because they were supposed to be the teachers of Israel and they had no idea what God commanded. They had led many people astray.
Here Jesus wants us to see that we become more and more like our teachers. We have no innate knowledge. As people, we must get knowledge from somewhere else, from outside of us. We may go various places seeking to understand various issues of life. Our worldview is shaped by the sources we choose to get knowledge from. As our worldview is built, we become more and more like our teachers.
Of course, this reading also reminds us that as disciples, if we see a blatant sin coming from a brother or sister in Christ, we are under obligation to go to them and confront them about it. However, to do this, we must be confronting sin in our own lives and we must approach them in humility and after much prayer.
A disciple does not approach someone out of arrogance but out of love and in humility, first examining their own heart for sin as well. This passage is in fact encouraging mutual loving restoration. Sin must be examined and dealt with on a personal level and then on a corporate level. God sees the honesty of my heart. This is our challenge for today.