Categories: Pastor's Desk

The author of the book of Sirach does not mince words in this weekend’s first reading. The author reminds us that a person’s speech discloses the cultivation of the mind. In other words, the words that we utter without thinking show to others who we truly are. No wonder it was once said that it is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt!

This first reading reminds us of the importance of thinking before we speak. This theme is continued in the Gospel, when Jesus cautions his disciples against the hypocrisy of judging the faults of others, without failing to take notice of our own faults. In fact. Jesus tells us to work on our own faults before we try to correct the faults of others!

This seems easy in theory, but in practice, it can be quite hard to do. It seems that all too often, our natural tendency is to judge others- to think that we are doing everything right, and that the other person is totally in the wrong. When our words and our actions reflect this mentality, we become like the blind leading the blind that Jesus describes in the Gospel. In short, we run the risk of leading others astray.

The remedy to this is to listen to the voice of the teacher, who is Christ. In humility, we recognize that we will never be greater than Christ. However, if we take his lessons to heart, we can help lead others to holiness. When we recognize our own faults, and work to remove them, we can then become more compassionate with the faults of others. Instead of judging them, we can use the lessons we have learned from Christ to encourage them to grow in holiness. This is the way that Christ calls us to live.

As we prepare to begin the season of Lent on Wednesday, these readings serve as a powerful reminder of our need to follow Christ more closely in our lives, so that we do not lead others astray by our negative and judgmental attitudes. Perhaps we can all use this Lent as a time of purification, a time of growth in humility, and a time in which we seek to grow closer to God in all aspects of our lives. May the Lord bless all of you throughout this upcoming Lenten season.

Sincerely in Christ,
Fr. Steven Huber, CSB