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Friday – Twenty-third week – OT1
Readings: I Tim 1:1-2, 12-14; Lk 6:39-42.
1/ First Reading: RSV 1 Timothy 1:1 Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, 2 To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. 12 I thank him who has given me strength for this, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful by appointing me to his service, 13 though I formerly blasphemed and persecuted and insulted him; but I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief, 14 and the grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
2/ Gospel: RSV Luke 6:39 He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone when he is fully taught will be like his teacher. 41 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 42 Or how can you say to your brother, `Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye.
I. THEME: Know God and know oneself.
The great emperor Napoleon, when was asked, “What is the secret that helped him to conquer the world?” gave a wise advice for those who want to be successful in their life: “Know yourselves and know others; hundred battles hundred wins.” Many people were failure because they didn’t learn to know themselves and others, “to meet more than one’s match, to meet one’s master.”
Today readings teach people to know themselves and others. In the first reading, St. Paul taught Timothy, his disciple, to know himself in relation to God. In the Gospel, Jesus gives concrete examples to teach his disciples that they must know themselves in relation to others; for examples, they can’t guide others if they are blind; they can’t criticize others when they have sin which is greater than others’ sin. Therefore, they need to correct themselves before they are clean to correct others.
1/ Reading I: Learn to know God.
1.1/ Paul’s greeting to Timothy, his beloved disciple: “Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope.To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.” Through these two verses, Paul wants Timothy to recognize two points:
(1) The mission of Paul as an apostle came from God and Christ, not from a human being or himself. When mentioning this point, Paul wants Timothy to understand about the mission which he is going to receive after training.
(2) God is the origin of all blessings which He bestows on human beings through Jesus Christ. Three important gifts which a disciple needs them are: grace, mercy and peace.
1.2/ Paul illustrated God’s blessings by his own life: The conversion of Paul on the way to Damascus is always the starting point of all his works, such as: theological thinking, application in life, and today, to instruct and to set an example for Timothy.
(1) All is grace: Looking back at his past, Paul clearly knew that he didn’t volunteer to serve Christ; but Christ trusted and gave him the mission of preaching the Gospel for the Gentiles. Paul wrote, “I thank him who has given me strength for this, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he judged me faithful by appointing me to his service.” Christ chose him, not because he saw that Paul is apt to carry the mission; but Christ himself gives Paul all necessary grace to fulfill his mission, as he wrote, “The grace of our Lord overflowed for me with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.”
(2) God gives grace for people when they are still sinners: Paul knew very well this point when he confessed, “though I formerly blasphemed and persecuted and insulted him; but I received mercy because I had acted ignorantly in unbelief.” God has mercy on people when they are still sinners. He chooses people not because they are worthy, but only because of His love for them. Even faith is also given to people when they are still in darkness. In brief, all are God’s grace; people only need to recognize and to correspondingly respond so they can get benefits from them.
2/ Gospel: : A leader must be good before he can help others to be good.
2.1/ Two important qualities of a leader:
(1) A leader must know the way: Jesus forewarned the danger of a blind leader, “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit?” Therefore, when we choose a leader, we must choose a wise leader. If we neglect this duty, we shall have to suffer the same consequence with him. A blind leader who doesn’t know he is blind can be more dangerous, he shall blame his followers for his failure.
(2) A leader must be good: Since not only the audience have two ears to hear, they also have two eyes to see, so a leader is required to preach not only by words but also by deeds. In order for his preaching to be effective, a leader needs to show what he preaches with what he does, and good deeds are easy to attract the audience more than a leader’s wise words. However, words also have their limited effects as Jesus taught us, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice” (Mt 23:2-3).
2.2/ The need to correct oneself first:
(1) No one can give what they don’t have; no one can correct others when he also has the same sin. Especially when his sin is bigger and heavier then the sin of the one he wants to correct, as Jesus said in today passage, “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’ when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye? You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.”
Before one can correct other, he must correct himself first. When one doesn’t frequently examime his conscience, he has a feeling that he is better than others; this feeling leads him to criticize and to correct others’ sin. He must know that even he can hide his sins from others, he can’t hide them from God who knows all of his sins.
(2) In order for the correction to be effective, a leader needs to know others’ good and bad habits, the circumstance which leads them to sin and must be patient to correct. Again, the examine of conscience helps a leader to know how hard he must try to overcome his sin. This shall help him to understand others and to be patient in his correction of them.
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– We must learn to know ourselves in relation to God. All what we have are from God. Don’t take what belong to God as our merits.
– We must also learn to know ourselves in relation to others. This learning shall help us to avoid criticizing and condemning others, especially those whom we have no responsibility with. Examining of our conscience often shall help us to terminate this bad habit.