Reflection for the Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C) – March 3, 2019
This Sunday’s Gospel is a challenging one and there is no way around it. In speaking to his disciples, Jesus also speaks to us, warning us that we must take care to purify ourselves, tend to our own flaws and weaknesses, and to live so that our actions and words express the truth in our hearts, lest we, too, become like hypocrites. He suggests to us that we cannot lead others without having been led and shown the way first. He tells us that we cannot sincerely help our neighbor remove a splinter from his or her eye, when our vision is so obscured by a wooden beam lodged in our own. These words encourage us to acknowledge our own flaws and imperfections before we try to confront those flaws and imperfections which we notice in others. Further, Christ teaches that, “a good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit”. What kind of fruit are you known by? Christ teaches that, “from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.” What consumes your heart and seeps into your everyday expression? How can we all strive to live so that who we are in our hearts reflects who we are to the world? How can we live so that who we want to be to the world, is in fact who we are in our hearts when we lay them open and bare?
Our surest companion and source of strength as we try to answer these questions is none other than Jesus, our Good Shepherd. He is the one who calls to us, who patiently waits for us, and who, with his loving voice, longs to show us where we belong and to lead us home.
Jesus told his disciples a parable, "Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit?
No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher.
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?
How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,' when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother's eye. "A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For people do not pick figs from thornbushes, nor do they gather grapes from brambles. A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks."
After wind, after rain, When the dark is done,
As I wake from a dream, In the gold of day,
Through the air there’s a calling, From far away,
There’s a voice I can hear, That will lead me home.
Rise up, follow me, Come away, is the call,
With the love in your heart, As the only song;
There is no such beauty, As where you belong;
Rise up, follow me, I will lead you home.