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.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Pope Francis’ homily a year ago on today’s gospel focused on Jesus’s thought provoking query: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?”
The Pope says: “Having just spoken about humility, Jesus speaks of its opposite: of that hateful attitude towards one’s neighbor when one becomes a ‘judge’ of his brother. Jesus used a strong word: ‘hypocrite.’ Those who live judging their neighbor, speaking ill of their neighbor, are hypocrites, because they lack the strength and courage to look to their own shortcomings….he who has hatred in his heart for his brother is a murderer…he who judges his brother walks in darkness.”
Pope Francis continued: “Every time we judge our brothers in our hearts–or worse still, speak ill of them, we are Christian murderers, and there is no place for nuances. If you speak ill of your brother, you kill your brother. Every time we do this, we are imitating that gesture of Cain, the first murderer.”
The Pope added, “Gossip always has a criminal side to it. There is no such thing as innocent gossip.” Quoting St. James, the Pope said the tongue is to be used to praise God, “but when we use our tongue to speak ill of our brother or sister, we are using it to kill the image of God in our brother [or sister]. Some may say there are persons who deserve being gossiped about. But it is not so.”
―George Penman Sullivan, Jr. is a Jesuit-educated lay leader who helped found Chicago’s Ignatian Volunteer Corps. He and his wife, Dorothy, live in Wilmette IL, and have four children and three grandchildren.
Pope Francis ended his homily with this exhortation: “Go and pray for him! Go and do penance for her! And then, if it is necessary, speak to that person who may be able to seek some remedy for the problem. But don’t tell everyone!”
“Today we ask for grace so that we and the entire Church may convert from the crime of gossip to love, to humility, to meekness, to docility, to the generosity of love towards our neighbor.”
Wherever we are today, we pray that we may live that Gospel message of love, humility, meekness, docility, and generosity to our neighbor. Amen.Please share the Good Word with your friends!