Friday of week 23 of Ordinary Time – Gospel

Commentary on Luke 6:39-42

In Matthew the parallel passage today is addressed to the Pharisees but in Luke it is addressed to the disciples.

Jesus makes two points:

First, the blind cannot lead the blind. The disciple, left to himself, does not know very much and depends on his teacher. But, once he is fully trained and has learnt everything he can from his teacher, then he becomes an extension of his teacher. He shares the knowledge and wisdom of his teacher and can, in turn, be a guide to others.

This is something we all have to do: to listen carefully to what Jesus tells us and make it part of our own lives. Only then can we effectively lead others to him.

Second, we have to be very careful about sitting in judgement on others. Jesus uses a graphic image of someone trying to remove a speck of dust from another person’s eye while there is a large splinter of wood in their own. How can we see properly to correct the vision of our brother when our own vision is so distorted?

The faults we so easily see in others are often trivial in comparison with our own shortcomings. Of course, much of the energy we exert in putting down others (the main staple of gossiping sessions!) is sub-consciously to compensate for the shortcomings we are all too aware of in ourselves. Instead of lifting ourselves up by changing our ways, we try to drag others down.

And, so often our judgements are based purely on external behaviour. We usually have no idea of the inner motives or intentions of other people or an awareness of their inability to behave otherwise than they do.

And, while we can be very ready with criticism behind people’s backs, we do not dare to say such things to their face. Yet, there may be times when we will be asked to give – as far as is possible – an objective evaluation of a person’s behaviour or their fitness for some responsibility. And, not infrequently, we sadly shy away from this responsibility.

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