WelCom March 2019:
Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C. Luke 6:39-45
39 Jesus told his disciples a parable, ‘Can one blind person guide another blind person? Surely both will fall into a pit? 40 No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained every disciple will be like his teacher. 41 Why do you observe the splinter in your brother’s eye and never notice the great log in your own? 42 How can you say to your brother, “Brother, let me take out that splinter in your eye,” when you cannot see the great log in your own? You hypocrite! Take the log out of your own eye first, and then you will see clearly enough to take out the splinter in your brother’s eyes.
43 There is no sound tree that produces rotten fruit, nor again a rotten tree that produces sound fruit. 44 For every tree can be told by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorns, nor gather grapes from brambles.’ 45 Good people draw what is good from the store of goodness in their hearts; bad people draw what is bad from the store of badness. For the words of the mouth flow out of what fills the heart.
A reflection on Luke 6:39-45
Elizabeth Julian rsm
‘Like the blind leading the blind’. We often use Jesus’ humorous analogy found in today’s gospel to describe a ridiculous situation or a venture doomed to fail. I have a dreadful sense of direction and when I’m with someone as equally challenged geographically as I am, the analogy is very apt. Jesus uses the image to warn us to be careful who we follow. There are many people offering us all kinds of advice about anything and everything both serious and trivial, including folding our clothes!
Discernment is essential otherwise what’s ‘trending’ can take over our lives instead of the gospel.
In another exaggerated image using a log and splinter Jesus tells us not try to leading others until we ourselves can see clearly. Once we set ourselves up to judge others’ imperfections, we are ignoring Jesus’ advice a few verses earlier to stop judging and condemning others. Surely, we have enough faults of our own to contend with!
From logs and splinters Jesus moves to fruit trees. My mandarin and grapefruit trees look similar, but I can tell the difference when the fruit begins to form. As the parable says, every tree is known by its fruit. Furthermore, if they are healthy, they will produce good fruit. While my feijoa and mandarin tree are bearing fruit, my rhubarb has rust and some of my tomatoes have blossom end rot. Clearly the rhubarb and tomatoes will not produce good fruit until I take remedial action. In terms of our own lives perhaps we can spend some time reflecting on our various involvements and their impact on the lives of others. What ‘fruit’ are we producing? Is it life enhancing for others or exploitative? We are surrounded by good and bad and we need discernment to decide which is which. However, we can run into problems when our discerning turns self-righteous and we fail to acknowledge that we too are sinners. Jesus is our guide and we are his disciples. We must become like him. His life, death and resurrection are at the heart of our faith. Can others see evidence of this in my life?