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Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time — March 3, 2019

Updated: Jan 9, 2020

Dear Friends in Christ:

Last weekend we heard one of the most challenging, most difficult, most confounding passage in all of the gospels. As I mentioned in my homily, it is also the most fundamentally Christian because it is the passage that calls on each of us to be the most like Christ. More than that, it calls on us to be “merciful, like the Father is merciful.” That is a tall order. And look at what it entails. Turning the other cheek, giving away your cloak, and the most radical and counter-cultural of all, Loving your enemies and praying for those who mistreat you. WOW! But it’s hard! It almost seems impossible and yet he showed us it is possible by His example! He taught us what he meant. He practiced what he preached. Pray for the grace to love the unlovable, to forgive the unforgivable, and to remember in prayer those you’d rather forget.

This weekend we celebrate the 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time which is often skipped over but, given that Lent is so late this year, we get to celebrate this Sunday. It is a Sunday in which the readings are full of aphorisms. An aphorism is an adage or a tersely phrased statement of truth. This weekend we hear three in our Gospel. “Can a blind person guide a blind person? Will not both fall into a pit?” Of course we know that this is true, but it also points to the reality for us as people of faith that we cannot teach until we have learned. We cannot guide someone in the faith until we have done our part to learn the faith. Then we hear, “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?” We can relate with this one as well. It is easier to point to the faults of others than to recognize our own or, even more so, it is a mechanism by which we feel better to point out the failings of others as a way of hiding our own. Finally, we hear, “For every tree is known by its own fruit.” We interpret this one to point to the fact that when a person does good things, we know this is a good person. When a person is continually stirring up trouble, we know that this person is troubled. The fruit reveals the person. Yes, of course, we always depend upon the mercy of God, but we have to respond to this mercy by doing our best to live the Christian life to bear fruit that points others to God.