SEPTEMBER 10 Ord Time B. Wk 22. Fri. Lk 6. 39-42
Jesus told a parable to the disciples: ‘Can one blind man guide another? Surely both will fall into a pit? The disciple is not superior to his teacher; the fully trained disciple will always be like his teacher. Why do you observe the splinter in your brother’s eye and never notice the plank in your own? How can you say to your brother, “Brother, let me take out the splinter that is in your eye,” when you cannot see the plank in your own? Hypocrite! Take the plank out of your own eye first, and then you will see clearly enough to take out the splinter that is in your brother’s eye.’
One of the lessons to come from this reading is the fact there are many opinions in this world which are promoted by people who are spiritually blind, and we need to be careful about who we allow to lead us. In many respects we are all blind in certain areas, so we need to be discerning about who we allow to influence us.
Sadly, many of us are prone to follow those views which cause the least disturbance to our “comfort zone,” – to the bad practices we have already adopted and in which we are very comfortable; - this being a good example where one blind man is guiding another!
The blind man we all tend to follow is the one who does not take Christ’s gospel teachings to literally, and who prefers to water down his demands; - especially in the areas of charity, self-denial, and generosity; - areas that demand genuine sacrifice.
One thing is very clear from the gospels, and that is Christ, while compassionate towards sinners, did not water down the need for genuine discipline and self-sacrifice; which is what many would have us do today.
And when we listen to the many blind men who promote watering down of gospel teachings, we find this leads to the other failing mentioned in today’s gospel; - we stop monitoring our own behaviour and practices; - and “switch” and to monitoring the behaviour of others!
The beauty of doing this is it allows us to focus on those around us; - rather than our own conduct. The reason we do this is because, in our hearts, we know our own conduct will not bear too much scrutiny; - and so we scrutinise others; - a much easier practice and one that causes the minimum of disturbance to our adopted comfort zone practices.
We must not forget that the Son of God had “nowhere to lay his head”; - and he did not come to do his own will; - but rather the will of the Father who sent him; - and he allowed no room for his own comfort, praying “Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; - yet not my will but thine be done!”
A key message in today’s gospel is easily missed, namely; - “The disciple is not superior to his teacher; the fully trained disciple will always be like his teacher!” We need to ponder what Jesus is saying here; - he wants us to model our own lives on his own; - an invitation that does not allow any room for mediocrity or comfort.
And then we have the harsh words of Jesus towards those who spend their time watching the conduct of others; - rather than their own! How can you say to your brother, “Brother, let me take out the splinter that is in your eye,” when you cannot see the plank in your own? Hypocrite! Take the plank out of your own eye first; - and then you will see clearly!”
Gospel Acclamation cf.Jn17:17
Your word, O Lord, is truth:
make us holy in the truth.
First reading 1 Timothy 1:1-2,12-14 ·
I used to be a blasphemer, but the mercy of God was shown me
From Paul, apostle of Christ Jesus appointed by the command of God our saviour and of Christ Jesus our hope, to Timothy, true child of mine in the faith; wishing you grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and from Christ Jesus our Lord.
I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, and who judged me faithful enough to call me into his service even though I used to be a blasphemer and did all I could to injure and discredit the faith. Mercy, however, was shown me, because until I became a believer I had been acting in ignorance; and the grace of our Lord filled me with faith and with the love that is in Christ Jesus.