Anticipating the Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time, we encourage you to ponder a Franciscan Gospel reflection and questions written by Fr. Paul Gallagher, OFM. They are edited by Franciscan Sister of Christian Charity Sister Anne Marie Lom and Joe Thiel. The excerpts from the Sunday readings are prepared by Joe Thiel. To read or download the complete pdf with excerpts for your prayer, please click here: Franciscan Gospel Reflection March 3 2019. Excerpts are from the Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States of America, second typical edition © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC. Used with permission. All rights reserved. No portion of this text may be reproduced by any means without permission in writing from the copyright owner. Please include this information when printing.
Photos: National Shrine of Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal, Perryville, MO (Photographer Sister Marsaia Kaster)
And he told them 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. “A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For people do not pick figs from thornbushes, nor do they gather grapes from brambles. A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.
The gospel text is a continuation of Jesus’s instruction to his disciples that began two weeks ago with the blessings and woes. That teaching continued last week with Jesus’ instruction to love your enemies and to do good to those who cannot repay you.
At the time of Jesus, the human person was understood to have three facets, each associated with parts of the body. The eyes and the head were understood as those parts of the body that collected information. The ears and the mouth were looked upon as the centers of self-expression. Lastly, the hands and feet were understood as the parts of the body that would put into action what a person had taken in from the eyes and the head and was now centered in the heart. The authentic person was the one whose three parts were in harmony. The people were also aware that some would deliberately disguise their true self.
In the synoptic gospels, Jesus is the only person who used the word hypocrite. In Luke 6:39-42 he used the term to characterize certain people as misguided teachers. He later calls the crowd hypocrites who know how to accurately reads the signs in nature but are unable to predict the present situation. Later in Luke Jesus will once again use the term “hypocrite” to describe the crowd who criticize him for healing a woman on the Sabbath, while they will rescue an ox or donkey on the sabbath when necessary. (Luke 13:15) In both cases Jesus challenges the crowd to examine their lives to see what their actions reveal about their interiors.
1. Who do you think of as your guides for the different parts of your life?
2. For whom are you a guide?
3. When you think of examining your life and your motives…
4. When you hear Jesus call those he is addressing hypocrites…
5. The image of a beam in one’s own eye while noticing the speck in the eye of the other…
6. Can you talk to God honestly about your desire to see the truth of your own life, the parts of your life that you find difficult to talk or even think about, or some other aspect of your own life that arose in this gospel?