View all Gospel Reflections |
Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
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.”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, grant me the grace to reflect on your words today so that I may be docile to your teaching and become your disciple to build your Kingdom on earth.
- Falling into a Pit: Jesus cautions against two errors we make when trying to share our faith: We know all we need to know about our faith and should not hesitate to speak, or we know too little and should keep our mouths shut. The problem with being spiritually blind is obvious—we cannot see! We cannot know what we do not know, yet we are called as Christians to ‘go out’ and spread the good news of being Christian. How can we answer our baptismal call to bring Jesus to others without turning them away by our words and actions, or by failing to bring him at all because of our timidity and silence? Later in the tenth chapter of the Gospel of Luke we hear that Jesus sent out seventy-two disciples to teach about the Kingdom of Heaven, but he did not do so before spending much time with them. To share our faith with confidence (to avoid falling into a pit) it is imperative that we spend much time with Jesus. “We need no wings to go in search of God, but have only to find a place where we can be alone and look upon him present within us” (St. Teresa of Avila).
- The Wooden Beam: No one wants to admit they have a wooden beam in their eye. We do not want to look at our faults; we don’t want to consider ourselves sinners. By placing ourselves in the presence of God through prayer, the sacraments, and Scripture meditation and study we gain clarity and spiritual light so that we can be who he has created us to be. St. Irenaeus, a Father of the Church says, “The Glory of God is man fully alive.” This means we can only fully know ourselves in God. He is the lens by which we see ourselves and see others. We cannot remove the beam in our eye, but Jesus can and wants to! He is the Divine Physician and the only one who can heal our wounds. Being healed through the Divine Mercy of Jesus Christ makes us whole and better able to help others.
- Bearing Good Fruit: Jesus taught his disciples that good fruit cannot come from a rotten tree. So why do we work so hard to share the Good News of Jesus with “rotten trees of the world”? We all feel that way sometimes, don’t we? We draw our hope for others, even those who seem to us to be hopeless, by remembering what Jesus said about being a disciple: “No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher.” When our teacher is Jesus Christ, Son of the Father, our Savior, our Master and King, he can use us, weak as we are, to bring his healing to those he calls us to evangelize. Our efforts to share the faith bear good fruit when we unite our earthly, human virtue with God’s supernatural gifts, which we receive by being attached to him like branches to the vine (John 15:5).
Conversing with Christ: Jesus, Good Teacher, you know who I am. You know where I am blind. You know my faults and my weaknesses. I ask you to make me see. I ask you to reveal who I am in you so I can help you win souls for your Kingdom.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will make an effort to spend at least fifteen minutes every morning in silent prayer and conversation with you, our Divine Teacher and Healer.
For Further Reflection: In Sinu Jesu, When Heart Speaks to Heart by a Benedictine Monk (journal entries of a priest in conversation with Jesus in daily Adoration).
Nan Balfour is a grateful Catholic who seeks to make Jesus more loved through her vocation to womanhood, marriage, and motherhood, and as a writer, speaker, and events coordinator for Pilgrim Center of Hope, a Catholic evangelization ministry located in San Antonio, Texas.