Friday in the 23rd Week of the Year, September 13, 2019

Remove The Beam In Your Eyes First
Paul pours out his gratitude for what the grace and mercy of God has made him. God’s grace has perhaps not appeared to us in a way as dramatic as in Paul’s life, but, though we have not been thrown off a horse by God’s lightning irrupting in our lives, we have very much to be thankful for, and we too are what we are by God’s love. What better way is there to express our gratitude than the Eucharist?
The gospel of today has everything to do with seeing: blind people cannot show the way to others, wounded eyes distort what they see in others and cannot see their own defects. We should have a bit of “sympathetic” blindness to the faults of others. And let us look first into our own hearts; this is perhaps the way to love others a bit more.

1 Reading: 1 Timothy 1:1-2, 12-14
Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our saviour and of Christ Jesus our hope, to Timothy, my true child in faith: grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me trustworthy in appointing me to the ministry. I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and an arrogant man, but I have been mercifully treated because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief. Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 16:1b-2a and 5, 7-8, 11
R. (cf. 5) You are my inheritance, O Lord.

Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge;
I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.”
O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup,
you it is who hold fast my lot. R.

I bless the LORD who counsels me;
even in the night my heart exhorts me.
I set the LORD ever before me;
with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed. R.

You will show me the path to life,
fullness of joys in your presence,
the delights at your right hand forever. R.

Alleluia: cf. John 17:17b, 17a
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Your word, O Lord, is truth;
consecrate us in the truth.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel: Luke 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.”

Moral values have become an important feature of the political scene in recent years. Some of it has come from conservative wing and some of it with a general dissatisfaction with the lack of concern for traditional values in modem Western life. Thus in this modem secular society, one candidate for public office does not hesitate to begin a campaign with a prayer and conclude a campaign speech with the request, “Please pray for me.” In the US, it’s easy to see a politician distributing a card with his picture on one side and the Ten Commandments on the other. In Nigeria every win at the tribunal, “To God be the glory.” In fact, politicians in Nigeria have used religion to alarming rate of real societal danger.
Our Gospel today has something to say to politicians or anyone responsible for moral leadership. One must make sure his or her plate is clean before exhorting others to finish their meals. We have had all too many examples of people in public life, as well as church life, who were anxious to remove the splinter from their neighbour’s eye while neglecting the wooden beam in their own. This was as true of some of the religious leaders in Jesus’ time as it is today. In our very public times, it is very difficult to keep skeletons hidden in the closet.
Paul’s letter to Timothy today finds the apostle admitting his past sinfulness—blasphemy, persecution, arrogance. But the grace of God was received in abundance and brought about a complete change of life. We share that same faith and love in Christ Jesus, and our lives are to reflect it.
Before correcting others, we always profit by some soul searching to see if our own lives are in order.

Eyes that do not look for the evil in others are like the eyes of God. He is not a policeman out to catch us when we do wrong. He forgives, he heals. May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!

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