Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
March 3, 2022 Cycle C
by Rev. Jose Maria de Sousa Alvim Calado Cortes, F.S.C.B., Chaplain,
Saint John Paul II National Shrine, Washington, D.C.
Sunday Reading Meditations
Luke writes to explain that
Christ came to save everyone.
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.
"A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For people do not pick figs from thorn bushes, nor do they gather grapes from brambles. A good person out of the sore of goodness in his heart produces good, but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil; for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks."
It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praise to your name, Most High, to proclaim your kindness at dawn and your faithfulness throughout the night” (Ps 92:2–3).
In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us that we must not judge others’ faults without first perceiving our own. We cannot correct others before correcting ourselves. Fraternal correction is only possible if we ourselves are in the process of conversion. Only the Lord can heal our spiritual blindness: “Then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye” (Lk 6:42).
It is only through the grace we receive from our personal encounter with the Lord that we can remove the “wooden beam” preventing us from seeing the light because “God gives the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 15:57).
There is a saying that “the eyes are the window of the soul,” which means that our eyes reveal our innermost selves. Analogously, it can also be said that the mouth reveals the heart: “For every tree is known by its own fruit” (Lk 6:44), […] “from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks” (Lk 6:45).
Jesus says that we are called to produce good fruit. Our life becomes fruitful when we are united to the Lord, like the branches of a vine. As today’s responsorial psalm says, in order to be fruitful, we must be “planted in the house of the Lord” (Ps 92:13). When our hearts are filled with God’s grace, we are able to proclaim the good news: “It is good […] to proclaim your kindness at dawn and your faithfulness throughout the night” (Ps 92:2).
Fruitfulness is God’s gift but it is also our personal commitment. As today’s first reading says, “[t]he fruit of a tree shows the care it has had” (Sir 27:6). In the second reading, Saint Paul reminds us that we need to be “firm, steadfast, always fully devoted to the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain” (1 Cor 15:58).
If we truly seek the Lord and his presence, we find fulfillment. Our hearts are filled with peace, love and joy.
A heart full of God’s presence and light gratefully thanks and praises the Lord. Today’s responsorial psalm says: “It is good to give thanks to the Lord, to sing praise to your name, Most High” (Ps 92:1).
To know Christ is to flourish: “The just one shall flourish like the palm tree, like a cedar of Lebanon shall he grow” (Ps 92:12).
Today’s second reading reminds us that Jesus’ victory over death is the center of our faith: “Death is swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Cor 15:55). The resurrection of Christ testifies that nothing can prevent us from reaching our destiny. In Christ’s resurrection, we are clothed with incorruptibility and immortality.
The Risen Lord removes the “wooden beams” from our eyes. His resurrection allows us to see the true nature of people and things. Jesus’ cross is the most fruitful tree. As we participate in the Paschal Mystery and prepare for Lent, our lives become fruitful and we “shine like lights in the world” (Alleluia refrain).
Let us thank the Lord for his goodness! Let us glorify and praise his name, now and forever. Amen.