“Why do you see the speck in your neighbour’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3)
Why do I notice the speck in my neighbour’s eye but do not notice the log in my own eye? Simple answer: I can’t see the log. Isn’t the log bigger than the speck? The truth is that I have an ego that likes to think of itself as perfect. I become blind to my faults and limitations even though I can barely stand these very limitations in others.
I guess you may have heard the saying that “if you want to catch a thief, employ a thief.” In reality, that which I try to fight in others is the very reflection of my own darkness. If only I am able to tell myself the truth, then I can come out of the darkness.
From time to time, God gives me the opportunity to hear the truth from others but the truth, being too bitter to swallow is perceived as an insult. Rather than accept it and begin to make amends, I start fighting the person who was courageous enough to tell me. I become defensive and start arguing that I am right while they are wrong. I surround myself with praise-singers instead who only help to inflate my ego. Persons who tell us the truth are not easy to come by. People would rather praise you just to make you happy to get something from you.
To see the log inside, we must practice the act of examination of conscience. At the end of each day, begin by recalling the good things you did that day. Then go through your day again, this time identify those things you are ashamed of. You may want to write down everything and if you do, this becomes your own spiritual journal. By examining our conscience every day, we soon begin to see the log in our eye.
Jesus is not saying we shouldn’t correct others. He says “first take out the log in your own eye, and then YOU WILL SEE CLEARLY to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.” You cannot help someone simply by judging and condemning them. If you have never been in that person’s shoes, you would never really understand what they are going through. First, cure your blindness, then you can see what the problem is.
If you want to change the world, be the change. Work on your inside. Not many people can compose and sing a beautiful song but almost everyone is an expert in judging a bad song. It is easier to criticize than to create. We like to blame our inadequacies on others.
In our first reading today, we see how the people of Israel suffered because they refused to listen to several prophets that God sent to them who warned them to repent. Don’t be stubborn. Look inwards and begin to work on those things that others have said to you which you brushed off as mere insults. They are not insults, they are just glimpses of the log you cannot see.
Let us Pray: Lord Jesus, give me the courage to change and to be a better person every day. Amen. Bible Study: 2 Kings 17:5-18, Psalm 60:3-13, Matthew 7:1-5).
Celebrating St. John the Baptist
“And immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, blessing God.” (Luke 1:64).
Today is June 24. It is now six months before Christmas. Today, we are celebrating the birthday of the one of whom the Angel Gabriel spoke when he said: “Your kinswoman, Elizabeth, the one whom people call barren is now in her sixth month for with God, nothing will be impossible.” We celebrate the birth of John the Baptist not just because it was a miracle, but it also marked the beginning of God’s plan for the redemption of man.
From the life of John the Baptist, we can see that no human life comes into existence without God knowing it. Long before we were formed in the womb, we already existed in the mind of God. As the Prophet Isaiah relates in today’s first reading: “The Lord called me from the womb, from my mother’s womb he named my name…” Abortion is the greatest act of man’s inhumanity to man. John the Baptist was not yet conceived before God sent an Angel to Zechariah to inform him he would have a son. What would have been of this child if he was aborted?
Our Gospel passage today is a record of the naming ceremony of John the Baptist. The family members were planning to call him Zechariah but Elizabeth and Zechariah knew that this child had a different destiny. They both opted for “John”. As soon as he wrote the name on a tablet, Zechariah’s speech was restored and he who once doubted God sang the Benedictus, praising God. Zechariah must have complained so much that he completely lost faith in God hence Angel Gabriel had to shut his mouth. Whenever you catch yourself complaining, please shut up. Sing praises instead.
The people wondered: “What will this child turn out to be?” This question is answered in our second reading. John the Baptist did the most beautiful work of preparing the ground for Jesus Christ. We can never understand our life looking forward, we only understand it looking back. Stop asking what tomorrow holds for you, you will not find the answer. But when you look back and connect the dots, you realize that God has always been there all through your life.
John the Baptist knew his purpose, he was not in competition with anyone, he did not try to be like anyone else. He fulfilled his destiny. He prepared the way for Jesus. When he became so popular he said: “I am not he. No, but after me, one is coming, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.” The moment John the Baptist said this, he had reached old age. He had finished his work.
Let us pray: Lord Jesus, increase my respect for the life of the unborn. Amen. Bible 7Study: Isaiah 49:1-6, Psalm 139 Acts 13:22-26 and Luke 1:57-66.80).