Friday, September 11, 2015

God refuses only the person who does not admit his own weakness; He sends away only the proud person.

The proud person is like a grain of wheat thrown into water: it swells, it gets big. Expose that grain to the fire: it dries up, it burns. The humble soul is like a grain of wheat thrown into the earth: it descends, it hides itself, it disappears, it dies; but to revive in heaven. 
--Blessed Mary of Jesus Crucified: (1846 – 1878: A Melkite Carmelite nun known as "The Little Arab")

Gospel Text: (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.”

Why is it that our vision is 20-20 when it comes to seeing the faults of others, but we wear blinders when it comes to noticing our own?  We just don’t see them, so maybe they don’t exist.  Or so we fool ourselves.

In today’s gospel, Jesus challenges us with the question: “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?”  The answer, as painful as it may be, is that our faults are huge logs; the faults of others are splinters in comparison.
Perhaps the first step in removing the beam from our own eye requires being aware that it’s there.  Perhaps Jesus is teaching us that the first task of a disciple is self-examination, to be aware of our blind spot.  Could it be that this is what Jesus meant when he began his ministry in his hometown of Nazareth in the synagogue?  It was there, in quoting Isaiah, that he announced the in-breaking of the reign of God.
“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim liberty to captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, and to proclaim a year acceptable to the Lord” (Lk 4:18-19).
Sadly, it was there in Nazareth – in blindness – that Jesus was first rejected.
Nevertheless, all the hopes and expectations promised in the Old Testament are being fulfilled in Jesus.  The reign of God is breaking into the world.  It cannot be stopped.  How then are the disciples of Jesus – including us – to live in response to this divine rule?  We begin by becoming aware of the beam in our own eye, our spiritual blindness.   And in humbly acknowledging our blindness, Jesus will restore our sight.  The great restoration is underway.

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