Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
One of my favourite late night shows was the “Late Show with David Letterman”. David Letterman was a late night show host from the late 70s and he has just retired lately. He is a very funny comedian. He used to spring up short stories and statements and leaving his audience in stitches.
In the gospel for today, Jesus, who is not really a comedian, was quite funny in describing three short stories or sayings that may have left his listeners laughing. This scene is part of the great teaching of Jesus, which we now know as the “Sermon on the Plain” this is something similar to the more popular “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew’s gospel.
Can a blind person guide a blind person? Imagine yourself driving on the freeway when your car breaks down. You try to wave for help as you have no idea of what’s wrong with your car. Then a person approaches you and offers some help and despite his good intentions has no idea also of what is wrong. Then finally, a mechanic arrives and gets the car running again. Sometimes we are in those kinds of situations. Jesus is saying that we can only be of help or guidance if we ourselves are knowledgeable enough of the situation. A concrete example is about parenting. If your son or daughter asks you about God, how will you be able to answer them if you don’t go to Church or have never been taught about God? It is a harsh reality that nowadays we are leaving it to teachers and peers to answer questions that parents should be answering. Maybe if we could start by opening our eyes to this then we can become better guides to our little ones.
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own? Of course, this is an exaggeration, however Jesus wants to point out something in this. During his time, Pharisees were quick to judge other people, especially about whether they followed all the complicated rites and rituals that they tried to impose on others. However, what the Pharisees didn’t see was their own shallowness and hypocrisy that Jesus tries to point out to them. To be able to correct another, one should take a good look on oneself first. Sadly, we are also like that, we are quick to point out the mistakes of other people in order that they can’t see our own.
A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit. One morning, I happened to watch a quite unique auction. It was an auction for colts and fillies for racing. Punters would take a look at their catalogues and have a good look at the horses, but I think what would determine whether a horse was good or not was its parents. If the colt or filly came from horses that have won a lot of races, most probably they could fetch a price of hundreds of thousands of dollars.
In this short parable, Jesus is telling us that we can only produce something good if our heart is full of goodness. We can only produce something evil if our heart is full of evil. In our days, we have witnessed a number of so-called Marian apparitions. And whenever these things happen, a lot of people and pilgrims are drawn to the apparition site. Sometimes, there would be claims of alleged miracles that have taken place. Even in some instances, claims of supernatural phenomenon having taken place as well, like the so-called “Dancing Sun” and other phenomenon. However, in declaring if a particular Marian apparition is what the Church calls “worthy of faith”, there are many studies and examinations conducted. One of these examinations is an investigation of the life of the visionary. A strong case could only be made if a Marian apparition is authentic if the life of the visionary has profoundly changed and has become closer to God in his or her relationship; if the visionary has exhibited virtue and is living a holy life. It is only when the fruits of the supposed apparition are seen in the life of the visionary and in the lives of the pilgrims that a particular Marian apparition can be deemed authentic.
These sayings of Jesus are important and helpful in our lives. These sayings, no matter how short they are, will always be packed with lessons that we can adopt in our lives. And if we pay special attention to those, the more orderly our lives will be and the closer we are to God.