8th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C - 27/2/2022 - Gospel: Lk 6: 39-45
A Human Heart
Making choices is a part of living. We do it daily from childhood. Most of the time we do well, but sometimes we make a mistake and we grow from mistakes. Later on in life, at some point, we all have to make a big and important decision. We are faced with the dilemma of having too much or insufficient information to process. In that sense, our decision-making involves some degree of blindness. Jesus used physical blindness to talk about spiritual blindness. Physical blindness is obvious and easy to know because we can see, and even touch it; while spiritual blindness is much harder to detect, because it is hidden from our physical sight. Spiritual blindness is conditioned by a human heart. To detect spiritual blindness, Jesus told us to look not at the appearance of a person, but to look at their heart, because the heart dictates their actions.

There are two sets of images Jesus employed that helps to detect the conditions of a human heart. The first set of images involves mainly a person to another person; the second set of images involved plants that produce what God intended them to produce. The first image in the first set was about the image of a blind man who led another blind man. The first blind man believed he knew the way, and the second blind man followed the first without recognizing that they both were trotting on a wrong path. The next image was the image of a disciple who used his teacher's name for his own benefits, for his selfish hidden agenda. The phrase 'the fully trained disciple will always be like his teacher' Lk 6:40, implied that Jesus' opponents were not His students, and their teaching was not what Jesus taught, and their claim of righteousness was in question. They were more concerned with asking others to observe the Commandments, while their hearts were far from it. Jesus challenged them by asking them to be humbled, accepting the reality that no human being was righteous before God. This arrogant attitude was redeemable by means of conversion of the heart. Only by obeying Jesus' teaching, putting His teaching into practice, one could learn the truth about God.

The third image in the first set involved the image of a splinter and a plank in a person's eye. It implied that people were quick to point out other people's mistakes while ignorant of their own faults. They had their physical sight, but were blind spiritually. Jesus used these images to talk about His opponents, who believed they were righteous. They refused to listen to or believe Jesus' teaching.

When discerning spirituality, we need to do so in the context of prayer, because we live in a world where we are bombarded by many self-appointed leaders, each claiming that his church is the true Church. There is only one Church that Jesus established. How can we know which leaders follow God's way? Jesus told us to look at the final outcome:

'Every tree can be told by its own fruit' Lk 6:44

At the time of Jesus, this teaching helped to distinguish those who were good leaders, and those who were not. Apply this teaching in the modern world to discern good from evil, truth from error. In general, trees produce fruit according to their own kind, and it takes time to produce fruit at the right season. A good tree produces good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. When applying this analogy to a human heart, it means good actions come from a good heart; and evil actions come from an evil heart. This principle is true to both individuals and church leaders. As a tree produces its own fruit, our actions reveal the condition of our heart. External actions are the reflection of the internal intention.

We offer our heart to Jesus.