1Tm 1:1,2,12-14; Ps 16:1b-2a,5,7,8, 11; Lk 6:39-42
Jesus, the LORD, is our inheritance; he alone is the treasure we inherit. He keeps us safe and in him we take refuge. Indeed, the LORD is our allotted portion and our cup. There is no other container that could contain the LORD except the LORD. He overflows in the abundance of his outpouring. He holds fast our lot; we have nothing to fear. Fear belongs to those who do not belong to the LORD. His we are, his people, the sheep of his flock. The Lord Jesus is the incarnate wisdom of God. His good counsel is all we need to find the way home to the Father in the Holy Spirit. Even in our dark nights, when the pain is greatest and there is no light; the LORD is nearer to us than we are to ourselves. Even when we feel lost we are not overwhelmed with fear. Indeed, we rely upon his presence, for the LORD is at our right hand; he is never far from us. He shows us the path to life because he is The Way, The Truth and The Life. The LORD Jesus is our Life, our abundant life, our life eternal. Nothing less than the fullness of joy awaits all who come to Him, and we all live in the delights at His right hand forever. Saint Paul tries to encourage his beloved disciple Saint Timothy by reminding him of the abundance of mercy that rescued him from his blasphemy, violence, and arrogance. The Lord Jesus teaches his disciples to not be disturbed by anything that could blind us, not planks and not even splinters. The Lord Jesus is here at this Eucharist to dispel all that would discourage or disturb us in our journey to holiness.
The language of Saint Paul is the language of our liturgy. Sometimes the priest greets us with the words Saint Paul used to greet Saint Timothy, his true child in faith: grace, mercy and peace. We are given the grace of salvation and hope. This is a completely undeserved gift. We do not merit; we do not earn grace. Such abundance is so far removed from all our other life experiences; it’s out of this world. We are not prepared for grace by our experience of life in society. Indeed, our fellow travelers in this world constantly remind us that there is no such thing as a “free lunch.” The grace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord is completely unexpected and totally unnerving. The rug is pulled from under our feet, and we are set off balance, only to be caught and held close by the Beloved Lord. Likewise, his mercy is undeserved and overwhelming. Saint Paul was a blasphemer, a persecutor and an arrogant man, yet the LORD saw him as he was and reveal the truth of his identity. Saul, the super Pharisee, acted out of the ignorance of his unbelief, and only the gift of faith and love in Jesus Christ rescued him from the wooden beam in his eye. He was blind, and was given sight. In beholding the One he persecuted, in gazing upon the Glory of Christ, Saul received the faith, the supernatural light, to behold the Face of God in the Face of Christ. No longer was he filled with self-righteous anger and unholy violence for the Body of Christ. In his conversion Saint Paul was at peace in the fellowship of those whom he used to hunt and imprison. It is this grace, mercy and peace that Saint Paul greets Saint Timothy and all who have joined them in the Body of Christ, who is, who was, and who is to come.
The Lord Jesus tells his disciples a parable about blind guides. The blind cannot guide anyone. Disciples cannot be blind; we must be able to see ourselves, as we really are if we are to be able to guide anyone. Our clear sight is not just for our own walking in faith; we see clearly so that we can help others to see clearly and walk in the light of faith. How can we give hope to anyone who is caught up in the dark lie of habitual sin if we are caught up in the same darkness? How can we help someone who is caught up in the darkness of sin and despair if we are still walking in such blindness? To be a faithful disciple and to call others to follow the Lord of Light we must turn from sin and seek the face of the LORD. We must find our delight in seeing our sin and weakness as an invitation to trust the Lord. Only the Lord himself can heal our blindness and fill us with his light. Only when we can see the wooden beam in our own eye can we help another remove a splinter. We cannot be faithful disciples unless we strive to see clearly the truth of our complete dependence upon the mercy of the Lord of Light. Without his Light, we cannot see the darkness that sin and vice impose upon our lives. In his light is the mercy we need to remove wooden beams and even tiny splinters. This struggle to grow in holiness will make us helpful to those with splinters; it will enable us to love our service, to run the race, and to fight the opponent.