Sybil 2004

Gospel text

Luke 6: 39-45

39 Then Jesus gave them an example from life: "Can a blind man guide another blind man? Will they not both fall into a hole? 40 A disciple is not superior to the teacher. Once properly trained, every disciple will resemble the teacher. 41 Why do you look at the twig in your brother's eye, but the beam in your own eye you do not even consider? 42 How can you say to your brother, "Brother, let me remove the twig from your eye, when you yourself do not even perceive the beam in your own eye? Blind man! First remove the beam from your own eye, and then you will be able to see clearly the twig in your brother's eye and remove it. 43 For a good tree does not produce rotten fruit, any more than a rotten tree produces good fruit. 44 In fact, every tree is known by its fruit. For figs are not gathered from thorns, just as a cluster of grapes is not gathered from a bramble. 45 A good person does good from the goodness of his heart, while an evil person does evil from the evil in him. Indeed, the mouth expresses the abundance of the heart.


This look at Tibet can help us discover our differences and our specificity

Gospel commentary - Homily

The difficult path to becoming oneself

Here is the content of a video recently posted on Facebook by a man in the conspiracy movement who filmed his run-in on the street with a reporter from a major newspaper assigned to cover health measures against Covid-19; we reproduce what this conspiracist said to the reporter, but replacing the foul words with asterisks: "You are serving me with your * of rag newspaper, you are a * of journalist, drop your job because I will sue you in *, you are a * of bonehead of globalist of *, no wonder that you wear this mask". One can guess all the contempt and fury expressed by these words. Such attitudes are not new, but social media have democratized and facilitated them. Some time ago, the same journalist received a text on his cell phone with the words: "It must be hard to start your car in the morning", followed by images of small bombs. Many public figures could give testimonies of bullying. What does it all mean?

It is in this context that we are going to read again this passage from Luke 6, 39-45. Let us remember that before the beginning of our passage, Jesus has just asked us not to pass judgment on others, and that we will be judged by the way we have judged others. Then follows a series of images that Luke calls a parable. The first image is that of a blind man guiding another blind man, and this is the catastrophe. We understand that the blind man is the one who passes judgment on the other, and therefore claims to guide him. The second image is that of the relationship between the disciple and his teacher: the disciple is not above his teacher, which means that he is a blind man who must be guided by a teacher until the day when he can in turn be a teacher guiding others. The third image is intended to explain what this training consists of: one cannot judge the twig in one's brother's eye until one has discovered the beam that blinds one. But how can we discover and remove the beam from our eye? A fourth image comes to enlighten us, the image of the tree and its fruit: the fruit that is the judgment proceeds from the tree that is the person, and just as the good or bad tree gives different fruits, the good or bad man produces a different judgment. The central expression here is "the treasure of his heart", because in the Jewish world the heart is the seat of emotions, inclinations, reflection and action, and therefore all human behavior depends on this heart, and it is there that the word of God can reside and transform it. From this point on, the conclusion can be drawn: "for from the abundance of a heart the mouth of a person speaks". Thus, all these judgments made about others are a reflection of the heart, i.e. of the deepest being of the person.

In this passage, Luke has collected various sayings of Jesus from a source that biblical scholars call the Q Document, a source also known to Matthew; it is interesting to note that Matthew has used the same images and phrases but scattered them throughout his gospel to emphasize other important points. What matters to us is what Pastor Luke wants us to understand about Jesus' words: one can only truly guide others, which involves the exercise of judgment, after humbly making light of oneself, and this is only possible through the transformation of the heart, a heart capable of seeing things as God sees them. Then one will no longer be a blind man guiding another blind man.

But in our passage, there is much more. For how do we make light of ourselves? The gospel speaks of the disciple-teacher relationship, and of the disciple who must be trained to become like his teacher. But there is also another, much more common way, that of seeing the twig in the other's eye. In fact, we see shortcomings in the other person, because his difference scratches us, his limits irritate us, his lack of understanding frustrates us. Yet, it is his difference that makes us aware of our difference, it is his shortcomings that suggest our shortcomings, it is his twig that evokes our beam. In other words, one cannot be born to oneself without a form of conflict. Jesus' life is marked by a series of conflicts, and his death on the cross is the result of his last conflict, a conflict that became a source of life. Conflict can be a source of death as well as a source of life. When I am confronted with an attitude or a word that I consider erroneous or even hurtful, should not my first reaction be to ask myself the question: does this not reflect what is perhaps also found in me? It is the shock of the confrontation that can make me evolve. My face today is the product of all these confrontations. This is how I reveal my being through all my words.

The word on social networks reveal the being of our humanity. And it is not always great to watch. Of course, we could censor everything, and some totalitarian states don't mind doing it. But doesn't censorship only cultivate hypocrisy, hiding the reality of things? Of course, we must ban calls to murder and what is destructive for society. But the face of Jesus revealed by Luke is that of a man who accepts confrontation, who learns from confrontation. This confrontation begins with the word that reveals the identity of the person. It is the starting point of any encounter, of any transformation.

It is necessary to leave the word free as much as possible, so that the heart of each one is revealed, and that we choose who we want to be.


-André Gilbert, Gatineau, December 2021