Why do you observe the splinter?

8th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year C

If you do not already know it, Fonterra is the largest company in New Zealand, responsible for about a third of the world’s dairy exports. In New Zealand, especially in the rural areas, it is easy to spot their milk tankers. The intriguing thing for me is that the tankers have on their backs, the words: “Forterra supports safe Driving, we welcome any comments: 0800 656568”. Fonterra as a company obviously wants not only to protect its image but also, when necessary, to improve it. There is always room for improvement in most of our endeavour and behaviour – but we can only improve by NOT smugly feel we are perfect, and everyone else is not!. Essentially this is the message of this Sunday’s Gospel (Luke 6:39-45), summarised by the line: “Why do you observe the splinter in your brother’s eye and never notice the plank in your own?”

The Greek philosopher Socrates advised us to learn to know ourselves (In Greek: γνῶθι σεαυτόν). He even expounded it to say: “The unexamined life is not worth living“. Few of us do enough of the exercise to get to know ourselves. It is a necessary exercise if we want to be Holy, and perhaps live a life less irritated by other people and circumstances or always have a critical spirit to put down others. Knowing ourselves, with our own shortcomings and failures, make us more humble and less quick to decry another person’s faults. Perhaps our modus operandi should be like that of Fonterra with our words at the back of our T-shorts: “I support a positive outlook. I welcome any comments!” There is always room for improvement. KHOW THYSELF.


Fr M

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