REFLECTION FOR TODAY
September 10, 2021
By Fr. Andrew Ibegbulem, OSA
“Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?” Lk. 6:41
In our society today where many people clamor for attention and claim to know it all, our gospel reference today challenges us to self-evaluation. The Philosopher Socrates once said, “man know thyself”. This was echo in St. Teresa of Avila’s “Interior Castles,” when she noted that one of the first steps on the path to holiness is self-knowledge.
Self-knowledge produces humility because humility is simply having a true opinion about yourself. When a person fails to know themself from the true perspective of the mind of God, then they open themselves up to many errors of judgment. One such error is that they can easily become fixated upon their perceived sins of others.
In a society where all claim to know it all and see control, our gospel reference depicts persons who lacks self-knowledge. For the reason, they “do not perceive the wooden beam” in their own eye, meaning, they do not see their own sin. As a result, Jesus explains that these persons also become fixated upon the “splinter” in their brother’s eye.
When you consider your own thoughts, what do you dwell upon the most all day? Do you honestly look inward, seeking to know yourself as God knows you? Or do you spend excessive time thinking about others, analyzing, and judging their actions? This is an important question to ask yourself and to answer with honesty.
St Paul gives us an honest clue of self-knowledge. He calls himself an apostle of God’s command but the qualification he listed was not any litany of degrees and accomplishment but referred himself as “a persecutor, a man of violence” who had received mercy and grace from the Lord.
So, the best way to know yourself is to gaze upon Jesus. When Jesus becomes the focus of your attention all day, you will not only come to know Him, but you will also come to know yourself more honestly. Gazing at the beauty and perfection of our Lord will have the double effect of knowing Him and knowing yourself through His eyes. It will also help you to know others as He sees them.
How does Jesus look at those around you? He looks at them with perpetual mercy. True, at the end of every life, when we pass from this world to the next, we will encounter our judgment from our Lord. But while here on earth, God continually gazes upon us with mercy. For that reason, mercy must become our daily mission, and we must build a habit of gazing upon everyone in our life with the eyes of mercy.
Reflect, today, upon our Lord. Look at Him, gaze upon Him, seek to know Him and make Him the focus of your attention. As you do, try to dismiss from your thinking process your own perceived judgments of others. Allow your gaze upon our Lord to help you to not only see Him but to also see others through His eyes. Build this habit and you will be on the fast track to the path to holiness.
Lord Jesus, may I build a humble and true habit of gazing upon You in Your splendor and beauty. As I see You, day in and day out, please also help me to see myself through Your eyes of mercy so that I will also grow in humility. Please remove all judgment from my heart so that I will be free to know and love all people as You know and love them. Jesus, I trust in You.