Homily for the eighth Sunday of the year - Year C - Lk. 6:39-45
Father Daniel Meynen
"Jesus also told them a parable: 'Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above his teacher, but every one when he is fully taught will be like his teacher.
" '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? 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.
" 'For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good man out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure produces evil; for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.' "
"Jesus also told them a parable: 'Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above his teacher, but every one when he is fully taught will be like his teacher.' "
We have never seen Jesus, but we nonetheless believe in him, for, between his time and ours, there has been generation after generation of Christians, men and women, who, one after another, have faithfully transmitted to others, to everyone they met on the road of life, the message of Christ, who was sent to earth by the Father, in the Spirit. For nearly two thousand years, the same words of the Lord Jesus have been announced throughout the world by those who were chosen by Christ and who make up that great Mystery that is the Church!
Today, the message of Jesus the Savior of men still goes out to the four corners of the world in order for all the nations to hear the words of eternal Salvation that are in Jesus the Son of God. The Lord said, before leaving this world: "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to the whole creation." (Mk. 16:15) The entire Church, every Christian, must spread the Good News of Salvation. Every disciple of Christ must become like his Teacher, in order that he too might proclaim the Word of God to all men. "Every disciple when he is fully taught will be like his teacher." (Lk. 6:40)
But who is a "fully taught" disciple? He is, first of all, a disciple who does not consider himself to be above his Teacher, but rather below him: "A disciple is not above his teacher." (Lk. 6:40) In order to be like the Teacher, one must first listen to the Teacher. This presupposes two things. First, one must be faithful to the letter of the message of Christ, the letter of which is found in the Holy Scriptures. In imitation of Saint Paul, for a disciple to be a true teacher, he must faithfully transmit the Gospel, the same Gospel that the Lord entrusted to his Apostles (cf. Gal. 1:6-9).
Secondly, one must be attentive to what the Spirit of Christ inspires in us, in order that we might live, in an ever better and ceaselessly renewed way, the message of the Lord Jesus. For the Holy Spirit is here with us until the end of time, in the place of Jesus the Teacher: "The Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you." (Jn. 14:26) The disciple truly is a teacher, like Christ, if the Holy Spirit is with him today to help him to live the teaching of the Holy Scriptures.
"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? 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."
Through the sacrament of confirmation, we receive the grace and the gifts of the Holy Spirit in order to become, to the extent that we are humanly able, other Christs, other Teachers, so that we might conquer the whole world to the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus: the Holy Spirit confirms us in the faith and makes of us fully taught disciples, the confirmed! But, confirmation calls to mind baptism: confirmation is nothing other than baptism brought to its perfection, to its fullness. Now, everyone knows that baptism makes us into participants in the Passion and the Resurrection of Christ.
Saint Paul reminds us of this by saying: "Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?" (Rm. 6:3) For, today, in the time of the New Covenant, it is no longer the blood of animals that is poured out upon the people, but, mysteriously, through the sacraments of faith, the elect of God are plunged, immersed, into the Blood of Christ, that is, into that element which is at once a sign of life and a sign of death, a sign of life when it is in the body, and a sign of death when it escapes from that same body.
In order to be a teacher, like the Lord Jesus, one must therefore perfectly resemble he who is our model: one must be as pure as he is. Only then will we be allowed to remove the speck from our brother's eye. As long as we have a log in our own eye - that is, as long as we do not do all we can to become perfect and holy, like our heavenly Father - we must renounce correcting our brother who, and we can believe this without hesitation, is more perfect than we are...
"For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; for each tree is known by its own fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorns, nor are grapes picked from a bramble bush. The good man out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil man out of his evil treasure produces evil; for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks."
There are trees everywhere in the Holy Scriptures, from the Book of Genesis (Gn. 2:9) to that of Revelation (Rev. 22:2), to cite two examples. The reason for this is that a tree, great or small, is an image of the divinity: it is always immobile, remaining in the same place, but it seems to live for centuries without end! In fact, insofar as it is an image of God, a tree is a symbol of man himself. Thus, after hands were imposed on a blind man for the first time, he saw men, but to him they looked like walking trees: "I see men; but they look like trees, walking." (Mk. 8:24)
So let us be "true trees" that do not walk, but which, instead, sink their roots into good soil and then remain where they are. It is in this way that we will produce good fruits, such as goodness, patience, humility, tenderness... The Church, who is alive, also possesses deep roots and a secular stability: that of the "rock" (Mt. 16:18) upon which she is founded. Like trees, the Church looks toward Heaven while forever remaining planted in the earth!
In imitation of Mary, the Mother of Jesus, let us be true disciples of the Lord: let us allow ourselves to be guided by the Spirit, he who took Mary under his shadow (cf Lk. 1:35), like a tree that moderates the heat of the sun with its leafy branches... Let us ask the Lord Jesus, who will come into us in the Eucharist, to make us into true disciples, apostles for the salvation of the world!