September 13, 2013

The Gospel Today 

Memorial of St. John Chrysostom, Bishop and Doctor of the Church

Lk. 6:39-42

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.”

Reflection (Sem. Enrico Terrel):

     This Gospel narrative reminds me of the line that I frequently encounter in the Liturgy of the Hours. It says “there is one Lawgiver and Judge, who are we to judge our neighbor?” In the narrative, Jesus Christ teaches us the right disposition towards perceiving and responding to the faults of others. In the face of errors due to human weakness, Christ reminds us that we ought to see the shortcomings of our brethren and call their attention regarding it so that such shortcomings would be corrected. However, we ought to do so with fraternal charity and full recognition of our own weaknesses and shortcomings because all of us are in a journey towards conversion and conformity into the person of Christ. Otherwise, we fall into the trap of self-righteousness. To be self-righteous is to see oneself as someone who is perfect because he has no mistake at all. Such person feels he has nothing to correct within himself whereas others have a lot to resolve in their lives. Thus, such person is guilty of committing the sin of pride. To be self-righteous is to be full of pride because one thinks too high of himself when the reality is he also has his own set of weaknesses, errors and sinfulness due to his inclination to do what is contrary to truth and goodness. He needs to resolve some issues yet he denies or justifies it by looking more on the faults of others. However, he cannot go on like this forever because he will be answerable to the Lord, the true Lawgiver and Judge in the end of his life. Furthermore, he will be dealt in the same way that he has dealt with others all throughout his life. The measure he used on others will be the same measure that will be used on him. In the face of errors and sinfulness, Christ invites us to love our fallen brethren as He says, “stop condemning and you will not be condemned, forgive and you will be forgiven.” He continues to love, understand and forgive us when He could have been the first to cast a stone on us. May the Lord help us to be like Him.

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