Sir 27:4-7; 1Cor 15:54-58; Luke 6:39-45
Bishop Potter of New York was sailing for Europe. As he went aboard the large ocean liner, he found that another passenger was to share the cabin with him. After looking his quarters, he went back to the purser’s desk and asked if he could leave his gold watch and other valuables on the ship’s safe. He explained that ordinarily he never did this sort of thing but he had been to his cabin and had met the man who would occupy the other bed and judging from his appearance, he was afraid that he might not be a very trustworthy person.
The purser accepted the responsibility of caring for valuables and remarked, “It’s alright bishop. I’ll be very glad to take care of them for you. The other man has just been up here ad deposited all his valuables for the same reason.”
Jesus calls hypocrites, those who notice a tiny sprinter in others but are blind to the plank in them. They are unaware of their shortcomings while they decry the faults of others. These people are often negative and hostile. They have the habit of focusing on the bas side of everything especially the bad side of people. They are pruned to criticize and find fault. May be because they are looking for a person without blemish. But, we are sorry, “He who would find a friend without fault will never find him.” The reason is simple: there is no one without fault and there is no ideal man, only real person.
The appealing thing about faultfinding in others is that it takes the focus off our own deficiencies and helps us to feel ever so self-righteous. It’s good to criticize others than we being criticized; there is no obligation on our part. It hurts us.
Instead of criticizing others, why not caring for them? If we care for them, we will listen not only to what they are saying but also to what they are trying to say with or without words. If we care for them we won’t impose our views, our plans, ideas, discipline, advice, correction, guidance and our judgment. If we care for them, we won’t jump at every opportunity to point out your blunders to make you feel foolish… If we care for them we will show them how talented, capable, industrious, genuine, original, creative, skilled, friendly, trustworthy, resourceful, good and lovable persons they are.
Instead of criticizing others, why not we try to also know ourselves? How? There are three ways:
First, we can know ourselves by what we do. We are identified by our work. But that is not always a good way to know ourselves. When we do nothing, does it mean that we are nothing already? Sick persons who are bed-ridden cannot do anything, are they nothing? So, we do not judge ourselves simply by what we do.
Second, we can be known by what we say. But there are times that we are careful with our words because we don’t like to hurt or make enemies. We are very careful with our words because we don’t like to lose our friends.
Third, we can be known by what we think. Because we do things according to what we think is right. We do not judge ourselves in terms of what we do, neither in terms of what we say, but in terms of what we think because no one censors, the way we think. We think according to our pleasure. Like for example: it is easy to be tolerant. It is very easy to be good. It is very easy to be good inside the church. It is very easy to smile inside the church because everybody seems to be good here. And so when we go to communion, we quietly full in line because we are prepared and very much disposed for it. But when we see someone who does not full in line or hear a baby crying or a child running to and pro inside the church, an urge to hit these undisciplined brats is very much in us. And so we can know ourselves in the way we think and in the way we react to a given stimulus or situation.
That’s why in our gospel today, Jesus asks us to search as carefully as possible for our own faults as we do for the faults of others. Because when we are aware of our own weaknesses and strive to overcome them, knowing that we have also faults we are slow to judge and swift to give the benefit of the doubt. The Greek philosopher Socrates says that nature has given us two ears, two eyes and only one tongue so that we should hear more than we speak. But now it’s the opposite, we speak more and we hear less especially if a good man commits wrongs even once all his good works are gone and erased. So if we cannot say something good about another person, then it is better to remain silent.
To end this sharing I would like to give some thoughts for reflection. There are three sayings:
“Speaking without thinking is shooting without aiming.” (W.G. Benham)
“Think twice before you speak and then say to yourself.”
“Judge people from where they stand, not from where you stand.”
See Today’s Readings: Cycle C
OPTION 01, 02, 03, 04,