Today’s Gospel message is straight forward. We easily condemn others for all their short comings but are blind to our own faults. “Why do you observe the splinter in your brother’s eye and never notice the plank in your own? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the splinter that is in your eye,’ when you cannot see the plank in your own?”
I watch a lot of sports on TV. Football pundits are aggressively more damning in their opinions. They are paid for their strong opinions about the best way to play (from a studio). Sharp words are used consequently cutting up the reputation of players and managers. Perversely many of these pundits were once players or managers who would have fallen short of these opinions during their own time. But this sort of behaviour is now common place in the way we live.
People seem to enjoy this type of public destruction of another person’s reputation. We find pleasure in heckling and consolation in blaming someone else. We judge and condemn; in today’s world better, stronger, faster and wider on social media. The plank in our eye has become a log.
We jealously guard our personal rights, we demand for personal space. Our personal opinions must matter. This behaviour unchecked will lead us down many blind alleys. Ironically while guarding we become unguarded to allow our self-importance to rise above everyone else’s. Envy and jealousy creep in like a slow poison blinding us. It will take us down many blind alleys, one of which is the alley of self-entitlement.
When we feel self-entitled in life we are less resilient to the challenges that come our way, and by the nature of human life challenges will come. We begin to look at others seemingly better off than us, the log in our eyes becoming the deadwood of self-pity, blinding us to the always present, helping hand of God. Sometimes things happen to us as a direct consequence of our own action, or inaction, but in our self-entitlement we chose to blame God until we reach a point of total blindness in our spiritual life.
Can the blind lead the blind? When we eventually reach the end of the blind alley we would have been stripped of everything, even our belief in God. In any form of desperation, one thing remain; not faith, not trust but hope. Small, flickering with life, hope is the only thing we cling to. Like a blind man, hope lead us to trust and faith. Trust and faith are two different things but they feed off one another, and eventually lead us out of blindness. Only then will we realise that the last vestige of hope we had was our God is disguise.
“The test of a man is in his conversation” (First reading). Be careful of the need to express our strong personal opinion. Everyone has faults, including ourselves. Giving each other space is the only way we find personal space for ourselves. God has entitled us that but we need to have both trust and faith. Live with this gratitude and not in that blindness. The only strong convincing opinion we should have is our belief in God.
“Death is swallowed up in victory. Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting? So let us thank God for giving us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ”. (Second reading)
8th Sunday in Ordinary Time