Friday of the Twenty-Third Week in Ordinary Time
1 Timothy 1:1-2, 12-14, Psalm 16:1-2, 5, 7-8, 11, & Luke 6:39-42
'The Parable of the Blind Leading the Blind' by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, circa 1568.
The parable from today's Gospel narrative reminds us how difficult the task is for the blind to lead the blind. Both will be at a disadvantage, although we can imagine or recall stories of those with physical impairments who rose above their apparent limitations and do incredible things. I don't think Jesus is questioning the power of the human spirit to overcome such obstacles. I believe the focus Jesus calls us to consider is our spiritual blindness.
When I hear Jesus say, "How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,' and do not see the wooden beam in your eye?" Truthfully, I get a bit angry thinking, 'Call it a wooden beam if you like, but if I can't see it, how can I remove it?' To which I imagine Jesus's reply, "Right. I'm trying to tell you that you are quick to spot a slight fault in your brother or sister but don't see fault in yourself. If you can't see it, you need outside help—Ask for it!"
You might ask in prayer, which is good. Or, you might consider asking someone you trust to tell you about your odd, annoying, or harmful behaviors. Easy to say, challenging to do.
At this point, there is some help in our reading from 1 Timothy, "I was once a blasphemer and persecutor and an arrogant man, but I have been mercifully treated because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief." He continues; Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus."
Friends, Saul was a man with beams in both his eyes, so he could not see. He received 'outside help' in the form of an appearance of the Risen Jesus when he was on the road to Damascus. We don't know if Saul, later converted to Paul, asked for help, but as a devoted Jew, he probably prayed for wisdom. Ironically, when he was struck and temporarily blinded, he was finally able to 'see'. I suspect that makes asking for help to see the beam in our eye even scarier. Perhaps that's what it takes, or maybe it requires a bit of humility on our part, as well.
Question of the Day: How will you seek the help of others in removing the beam in your eye?
Prayer: Lord Jesus, we pray to You to cure our blindness. Then, like Saint Paul, You might use us to help others. Amen.