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.
Today’s Scripture readings focus our attention on the quality of our moral character. They force us to take stock of how we are living our lives. Quite appropriate, for Wednesday this week is Ash Wednesday—the beginning of Lent.
The image found in both the first reading and in the Gospel is that of a tree, and the quality of fruit it produces. So, we must ask ourselves what sort of fruit are our lives producing?
“The fruit of a tree shows the care it has had.” How well are each of us taking care of the tree of our life? What sort of fruit are we producing in our lives as disciples of Christ? Jesus challenges us to be honest with ourselves and with others.
How do we deal with the problems in our lives today? Do we simply focus on ourselves while ignoring the needs of those around us? Do we hear the cry of the poor? Are we ready to sacrifice our comfort for the good of others? When we see a problem are we willing to work at finding a solution? These are important issues for each of us to face.
This week's first reading comments that one’s faults appear when he or she speaks. What faults is the text speaking about?
Another line in this same reading says that the fruit of a tree shows what kind of care it has had. What does that mean? What would affect the quality of a tree’s fruit? Is this line just about the tree or about people?
The second reading has Paul writing about the end of our human life and about the end of time. What does he mean by “the sting of death”?
Paul urges people to be firm and steadfast and fully devoted to the work of the Lord. What reason does he give for that message?
Jesus uses a few parables in the Gospel to teach his disciples: the blind leading the blind, the splinter in someone else’s eye, good tree compared to a bad tree. Which parable makes the most sense to you?
Then Jesus uses the good tree versus bad tree example to make his point about people who are bad or good. Can you explain Jesus’ idea?
by Susan Hines-Brigger
Sometimes it's hard to see all of the good things about ourselves. Have everyone in your family draw up a list of each other's best characteristics. Share the lists with each other.
The Gospel uses the analogy of a good and bad fruit tree and says that every tree is known by its own fruit. We can also use that concept in our own lives. What are you doing to keep yourself healthy? Find some ways that you can take care of yourself. Go for a walk, go to bed early or take a nap, pray, drink more water—whatever you can do to keep yourself healthy.