First Reading: 1 Timothy 1:1-2, 12-14
Paul, an Apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our savior and of Christ Jesus our hope, to Timothy, my true child in faith: grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord. I am grateful to him who has strengthened me, Christ Jesus our Lord, because he considered me trustworthy in appointing me to the ministry. I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and an arrogant man, but I have been mercifully treated because I acted out of ignorance in my unbelief. Indeed, the grace of our Lord has been abundant, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus.
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 16:1B-2A AND 5, 7-8, 11
You are my inheritance, O Lord. Keep me, O God, for in you I take refuge; I say to the LORD, “My Lord are you.” O LORD, my allotted portion and my cup, you it is who hold fast my lot. I bless the LORD who counsels me; even in the night my heart exhorts me. I set the LORD ever before me; with him at my right hand I shall not be disturbed. You will show me the path to life, fullness of joys in your presence, the delights at your right hand forever.
Gospel: Luke 6:39-42
Jesus told his disciples a parable: “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit? No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher. 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.”
Do we truly believe that all humans are capable of redemption and forgiveness? Saint Paul was blasphemous, a persecutor, and an arrogant man, and the Lord was merciful with him. Jesus hung on the cross next to a thief, and He granted him salvation. We live in a broken world full of murders, crooks, and terrorists, and yet God provides hope for their futures too.
Because this is true, do we treat people as such? Do we ask more of the people around us because we know they are capable, or do we shrug our shoulders and think, “Some people will never change”?
Perhaps we shy away from pointing out areas in people’s lives that need improvement because of the beam in our own eye. But maybe we are reading this message incorrectly. After all, we are also called to be our sisters’ keepers.
This is such a fine line to straddle, so what does it look like to guide someone while we are sinners ourselves?
First of all, we must strive to live our lives according the the law of Christ, AND, when we fail, we must seek forgiveness in Confession, and also make amends with those we have wronged. Another way to do this would be to offer sound advice when asked. Or perhaps we can redirect a conversation that has turned into gossip.
And, being someone’s keeper might not always require a conversation or action. In some instances, prayer and support might be the only reasonable route.
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Today, on the fourteenth anniversary of September 11, ask God to speak deeply to the heart of a terrorist. Ask the Lord to bless that person in a special way so that he or she may realize the truth, beauty, and peace of Jesus. These people are capable of redemption and forgiveness too.
Jenna Hines has teeny army of three children and is married to a bearded fellow named Mike. A former high school English teacher, she now stays at home where she blogs and runs a crafty embroidery business. You can find out more about her here.