SERMON OF THE WEEK - August 21, 2011
- Next Sunday is the first Sunday after the Feast of Assumption of St. Mary. The gospel reading for Sunday is from Luke 6:39-45. Here Jesus gives special instructions to his followers as to how they should respond to the false teachings in their midst. He talks about a parable, "Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch?"
Gospel Reading: (Luke 6:39-49) " 39He also told them this parable: "Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher. 41"Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother's eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42How can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,' when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother's eye.
43"No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thorn bushes, or grapes from briers. 45The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks. "
46"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? 47I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. 48He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. 49But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete."
Jesus gave special instructions to his disciples as to how they should respond to false teachings of the Pharisees. How they should confront those who hate them, curse them, or mislead them for the sake of convincing others that which is not the truth. Jesus points out the differences between his teachings and the teachings of the Pharisees. In this gospel reading we note seven principles that are important to be a true disciple of Jesus. These principles are as important today as it was then.
1. Make sure that we have the correct knowledge to guide others. Can the blind lead another blind? Won't they both fall into the ditch? (v.39)
2. Do not assume more than what we know. (v. 40). A person must be perfectly trained to be a teacher. A student is not above his teacher.
3. Nothing shall cloud our vision before we criticize others. We should have a clear mind. We shouldn't look at the speck in our brother's eye without perceiving the plank in our own eyes. (v. 42). Speck of dust is the symbol of small things of infringement of traditions and practices which the Pharisees have elevated to the status of God's law.
4. Good trees bear good fruits. Good trees do not bear bad fruits. A tree is always true to its character. (v. 44). To bring good out of us, there must be changes in our character that will produce good behavior. We need a rebirth.
5. What comes out of our lips depends on what is inside of our heart. (v. 45). A good person brings out goodness out of his heart and the evil man brings out evil. Our words and attitudes are an unfailing indication of the state of our mind.
6. Obedience is the final test of commitment. (v. 46) By just calling Jesus "Lord" is not the test of being a genuine disciple. It is only when a person hears the Word and acts upon it will only genuinely make that person a committed disciple.
7. Finally, a building is only as strong as the foundation it is built on. (v. 47). There are many of us who listen to Jesus and then make a profession of faith out of it without effectively practicing the teachings. Jesus instructs us what to do. It's like the two houses that stand up to the storms. One stands up and the other collapses. Jesus uses the example of the houses to represent a person's faith. The permanence of the house depends on its foundation.Those who do not live by strong faith is like a house without a strong foundation against which life's temptations will beat and will cause it to fall.
It is foolish to build a house without a strong foundation under it. Likewise, it is foolish to build a life without a strong faith in God. The foundation of our faith must be strong enough to withstand the final judgement day.
Rev. Dr. V Kurian Thomas, Valiyaparambil