February 27, 2022 – 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/022722.cfm)
Once in a monastery, the whole community of monks gathered together for a meeting in order to give their final judgment on a particular monk who made a mistake. Each one of them expresses their own different opinions and verdict on the monk on-trial. They even have some conflicting opinions as to what would be the proper verdict for the monk on-trial,…while Bro. Felix, the oldest of them all remained silent. When they finally asked for his opinion, Bro. Felix quietly came forward with a sack and a basket, and filled both with sands. They were all shocked and asked Bro. Felix to explain himself. Bro. Felix finally say: “This sack of sands are my sins, which are full and heavy. I carry this on my back so that I could not see, be mindful and be sorry about my own sins and mistakes I am guilty of. While this basket of sands are the mistakes of our brother on-trial in front of us so that I could easily see, condemn, and judge him. But this is not right and just. Better for me to carry and mind my own mistakes and ask the Lord’s pardon, mercy and forgiveness than to mind and judge the mistakes of others.” Eventually all came to realize their own sins and mistakes in life, and became forgiving to their brother on-trial as they also needing God’s mercy and forgiveness.
Try more not be a convicted judge but rather be a forgiven convict.
Why is it that it is easy for us to see the shortcomings and limitations of others, but we are blind in seeing our own wrongdoings? Usually, it is easy for us to blame others than ourselves. Easy for us to criticize the faults of others. Not difficult for us to look for the sins and dirt of others, but only ourselves to blame. Like in our life-difficulties, like during pandemic times or even election campaign period, easy for us to blame others and say, “Because of my parents… our leaders… our government… our church.” We are however blinded or hard for us to accept that we are part of the problem because we don’t care and take responsibility of our own actions for the common good of our community and our country. Easy also for us to elect corrupt popular politicians and leaders as we allow ourselves to be deceived by their promises and to sell our own rights to vote. Blaming, Judging, and condemning others than ourselves, makes us unconscious and blind of our own mistakes and accountability.
Our gospel today reminds us of the song “Lupa” of Rico Puno, “Bago mo linisin ang dungis ng iyong kapwa, hugasan mo ang putik sa mukha”. (Before you clean the dirt on other’s face, wash the clay in your face first.) As Jesus would say “Remove first the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye. This is the advice and direction Jesus have given us all His disciples. These are His words and message not only for others but for all of us, you and I, as His disciples.
True indeed, as Christians, we are challenged to preach and share the Good News of Jesus to all people. But these Good News are not only for others or all who have not heard of Jesus, but moreso, onto ourselves who are already believers of Christ. God’s word is intended for the salvation and transformation of all people, but above all for ourselves who are Christians, His followers. Meaning, we have first to practice what we preach, live what we believe God’s words and messages in our own lives, before and so that we can proclaim and share it to others. Good News is thus Jesus’ message if and when we practice and live its command in our own lives rather than using it as a standard in judging others. As PCP II reminds us that for us to be Filipino Christians today is to re-tell (tell again & again) the Jesus story into ourselves so that we can proclaim Jesus Christ with authority to others.
In other words, “Kung gusto mo ng pagbabago, simulan mo sa sarili mo.” If you want change in life, begin with yourselves. Thus, have a good look at yourselves first before judging, condemning and blaming others. Remember, never is it the intention of Jesus to preach us the Good News of God’s salvation to mind and judge others & ourselves but to change ourselves for the better.
In tune with examples and message of our Lord Jesus Christ, may His Gospel first reign in our hearts us so that we may become worthy to be called followers and disciples of Christ and proclaimers of His Good News of salvation, and thus, less becoming judging & condemning of others. So Be it. Amen.