He also told them a parable: ‘Can a blind person guide a
blind person? Will not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above the
teacher, but everyone who is fully qualified will be like the teacher. Why do
you see the speck in your neighbour’s eye, but do not notice the log in your
own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbour, “Friend, let me take out the
speck in your eye”, when you yourself do not see the log in your own eye? You
hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see
clearly to take the speck out of your neighbour’s eye. No good tree bears bad
fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; for each tree is known by its
own fruit. Figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a
bramble bush. The good person out of the good treasure of the heart produces
good, and the evil person out of evil treasure produces evil; for it is out of
the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks.
Today we continue the Luke’s version of Matthew’s Sermon on
the Mount. The difference between these two versions is that in Matthew most of
the remarks are addressed to the scribes and Pharisees, but in Luke they are
applied to all. Each man and woman must judge himself or herself before they
can dare judge or teach their neighbour. The work, the deeds of a man are the
criterion for judging what he really is.
These teachings of Christ spoken centuries ago to his fellow
Jews of Palestine are as true and as crystal clear today as they were in the
year 29 AD. They are the words of him who was the Truth. They are put before us
today for there are few amongst us who do not need to be reminded of their
lesson. We are all so prone to see the neighbour’s faults and shortcomings and
so inclined to cover up or deny our own.
While we ourselves are blind to many necessary virtues, yet
we can spot this lack in our brother and sister Christian and have the audacity
to offer to lead him on the right road. We are often lacking in the basic
knowledge of the teachings of our faith and yet we can find a thousand faults
in the official doctrine of the teaching Church. We can all criticize minor
defects in our neighour’s Christian behavior whilst our own Christian way of
living is giving far greater scandal.
In other words, most is not all of us, are to degree
hypocrites. We pretend to be what we are not, but should be. We pretend to be
producing good fruit: figs and grapes, whereas we are only thorn bushes and
brambles which produce nothing but harmful thorns which sting and poison
ourselves and our neighbours.
When our Lord spoke these words, his purpose and intention
was not to condemn his hearers, the vast majority of whom were guilty of the
defects he mentioned, but rather to open their minds and their hearts to their
shortcomings so that they would change for the better and learn to live with
their neighbour’s faults, and do all in their power to correct their own.
We are all guilty of rush judgment and unjustified criticism,
to a greater or lesser degree. Let us turn this criticism on ourselves rather,
and judge ourselves honestly and sincerely and in a short while we may, with
God’s grace helping us, notice a change in our Christian conduct. Eventually,
we shall find ourselves becoming more Christian and therefore more charitable
towards our neigbour and less critical of the faults of others. Amen.