Daily Reflection – 9/13/19
He also told them a parable: “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully qualified will be like the teacher. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Friend, let me take out the speck in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye. (Luke 6: 39-42)
In this Gospel, Jesus used an analogy from his own background as a carpenter. He pointed to the temptation in leaders to make negative, and sometimes rash, moral judgments. It was easier to point and condemn, than to take time to reflect, take stock, and reform.
He begins with a rhetorical question. The blind who need someone else to lead them surely cannot lead another who is blind. What is worse is that if this is attempted both persons will be in trouble. This is why disciples who intend to lead others must first learn to be like the master. If they attempt to lead others without first learning from the master, their teaching will be erroneous.
The second parable reinforces the point made in 6:37-38 about not judging or condemning. Before one can point to the faults of others, introspection is called for. One must realize that often one might be guilty of greater misdeeds than the person to whom one is pointing.
Jesus finished his parables with an image of fruit trees. The quality of fruit and trees were not interchangeable. Nor could someone pick quality fruit from plants not known for such produce. Like fruit, the acts of a person revealed their character. Ultimately, a person would be known by the quantity and quality of their speech. The sheer amount of verbiage did not make someone a good person. And the person who tried to hide their true intentions would soon be found out. Words must match action. Action must match words.
The awareness of the annoying “speck” can lead to the detection of the “log”. In the mind of Jesus there was no substitute for self-knowledge and true inner conversion. The key factor was the heart, the largely unexplored depths of the human spirit. External behavior, while often the expression of the heart, was always secondary to the heart’s own orientation: its basic option for good or for evil, for God or for self.
If I am to remove the splinter in my brother’s eye, I must see clearly; to see as Christ sees; to love as Christ loves; to forgive as Jesus forgives; stop judging lest I be judged.
Prayer of The Day
O Father, give us the humility which realizes its ignorance, admits its mistakes, recognizes its need, welcomes advice, accepts rebuke. Help us always to praise rather than to criticize, to sympathize rather than to discourage, to build rather than to destroy, and to think of people at their best rather than at their worst. This we ask for thy name’s sake. (Prayer of William Barclay, 20th century)
Good trees, like good people, produce good things; decayed trees and corrupt people give forth worthless and evil things. Just as a person’s speech (Sirach) reveals his/her mettle, so too do a person’s deeds mirror the heart and mind that prompted them.