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 neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘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 neighbor’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.
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.
As a kid, my favorite films told the stories of uneducated but eager students who flourished under the guidance of a master teacher. Whether it was Luke Skywalker learning from Obi-Wan Kenobi how to swing a lightsaber or use the Force, or the bullied student Daniel LaRusso studying karate under his martial arts mentor, Mr. Miyagi, I loved to watch a wise instructor reveal a road map by which a young pupil’s life would change forever.
The Gospels open up such a road map for us as faithful followers. Why study with the bad teachers and blind men of our times when Jesus, our master teacher, tells us precisely how to mature in spirit and grow in faith? While our readings for today impress upon us the virtues of wisdom and how to consider death, Jesus points out that we are often far more accepting of our own sins than those of others. Our lesson is to learn how to show others the mercy God shows us. We must practice being merciful to become master class students.
Ask for those gifts of the spirit you need to deepen in love and mercy today!
—Joe Kraemer, SJ, is a Jesuit scholastic of the Jesuits West Province currently finishing his second year of Regency in the Advancement Office in Los Gatos, California.
Our Father, Who art in Heaven,
hallowed be Thy name;
Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done
on earth as it is in Heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread;
and forgive us our trespasses
as we forgive those who trespass against us;
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.