FR. MIKE’S FRIDAY HOMILY FOR 23RD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME CYCLE I

FR. MIKE’S FRIDAY HOMILY FOR 23RD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME CYCLE I

THEME: Can a blind person guide a blind person?”

BY: Fr. Mike Lagrimas

FR. MIKE’S FRIDAY HOMILY FOR 23RD WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME CYCLE I

THEME: Can a blind person guide a blind person?”

BY: Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

HOMILY: Lk 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.

“Can a blind person guide a blind person?” This statement has two meanings and applications.
What first comes to mind is the classic Latin dictum, “Nemo dat qoud no habet.” No one gives what he does not have. A man cannot lead a blind person if he himself is blind. He cannot give light if he does not have it.

This teaching of Jesus has a parallel in the Gospel of St. Matthew (15:12-14). But there is a difference in the intended audience. In St. Matthew, it is addressed to the scribes and Pharisees. Certainly, it is a denunciation of their hypocrisy and judgmental attitude. But in the Gospel of St. Luke, Jesus is talking to the disciples.

In this sense, therefore, the blindness that St. Luke refers to is ignorance. The disciple cannot impart the light of knowledge when he himself is living in the darkness of ignorance. He must have clearer vision than the person he seeks to lead. That is why he has to seriously take into account the training and instruction he receives from his teacher. And “when fully trained” and has learned everything he needs to know, he becomes an extension of his teacher: he “will be like his teacher.” He, then, can be a guide to others who seek enlightenment and direction.

In this regard, we have to ask ourselves: How seriously do I listen to the Word of God? What do I do to deepen my knowledge of the Catholic faith? Many of us are very interested in learning about business, politics and showbiz personalities. Others have the time to watch every single episode of a telenovela. But we barely have any interest and the time to read scriptures and catechism or to attend formation seminars. So, until now, many of us can still be considered ‘blind guides.’

And secondly, we are reminded that there is only one Teacher, and it is Christ, the Lord (Mt 23:8). We, therefore, have to be extremely careful in choosing whom to listen to and follow. We might be following a blind guide. It is a call to discernment and prudence. During these times when there are so many false teachers all around, televangelists who preach the prosperity gospel, and self-appointed prophets who have hidden agenda, it is best to heed this warning. Many of them are effective and persuasive speakers, and some even have special healing powers. Yet one has to look into the teachings they are imparting. These could lead us to extreme spiritual peril.

Then Jesus proceeds to exhort His disciples to refrain from judging other people. He uses a hyperbolic illustration of someone trying to remove a speck of dust from another person’s eye while there is a large wooden beam blocking their eyes.

It is so easy to see the faults of others. And most often, we enjoy talking about their faults, for it makes us feel and look better. But what we seldom realize is that their faults are often trifling in comparison with our own. In fact, we often see in others the reflection of our own defects. Hence, subconsciously we try to hide our shortcomings by magnifying theirs.

Judging people rashly is a sin against charity. So often these judgements are based purely on external behavior. We rarely bother to look into their inner motives and intentions or the real story behind their behavior.

St. Bernard has this beautiful advice on true charity: “Although you might see something bad, do not instantly judge your neighbor, but, rather, excuse him interiorly. Excuse the intention if you are unable to excuse the action. Consider it as if done in ignorance, or unawares, or through weakness. If the matter is so weighty that you cannot possibly overlook it, then try to believe the following and say to yourself: the temptation must have been very strong!”

Fr. Mike Lagrimas
St. Michael the Archangel Parish
Diocese of Novaliches

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