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Parables were a favorite teaching device for Jesus. In essence parables are simply short stories or sayings that are meant to convey a deeper meaning. They try to tell us something about God, about our relationship with God, or about how we are to live. In our Gospel this Sunday we find several brief parables: “Can a blind person guide a blind person? No disciple is superior to the teacher. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own? A good tree does not bear rotten fruit. For people do not pick figs from thorn bushes.” Taken together these parables/sayings remind us that those who seek to guide others, must take care that their own house is in order before they undertake the task of guiding someone else.
Clearly the message of these parables/sayings is one that needs to be heard today --- perhaps most especially by those in leadership positions in our church. In the recent history of our church we have seen many priests and bishops who sought to guide others, while not “practicing what they preached.” Because of this we should not be surprised that people have left of Church. For this we need to hold people accountable. As a consequence of this those in leadership positions must re-learn that they need to preach first to themselves before they presume to preach to others.
Our first reading this Sunday is taken from the Book of Sirach. We don’t often read from this book, but the section we read today shares the message of the Gospel. “When a sieve is shaken the husks appear; so do one’s faults when one speaks. As the test of what the potter molds is in the furnace, so in tribulation is the test of the just.”
Our second reading today is taken from the first letter of Saint Paul to the Corinthians. In the section we read today Paul reminds us to be steadfast in faith, so our labor will not be in vain. “Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be firm, steadfast, always fully devoted to the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
- Can you remember an instance when your words/actions were not consistent with your faith?
- Has there been a time when your faith has been tested in regard tribulations you have had to face?
- How does one devote themselves to the work of the Lord?