Knowing oneself is not an easy job. There is a saying: Know thyself. No one is closer to you than yourself. Yet, I am still a mystery to me. People love to do quizzes to know about IQ, psychology, temperament, and the like, but to know ourselves we need to a lifetime test.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus talks about seeing ourselves. He used proverbs to teach his disciples, and also to each one of us. I do not see the beam in my eyes, which means not realizing in me a serious flaw that everyone can see, except me (I can’t see or I don’t want to see!) But I see the little speck in others’ eyes. It seems it is easier to see a speck in someone else’s eye than seeing the beam in your eye. Is it because we are so close that we cannot see clearly, or because we still consider ourselves perfect? So, it is hard to accept our shortcomings. To see ourselves, it is necessary to humbly ask and listen to others.
My brothers know me better than I know me. “Let me take the speck in your eye.” We always say the same and do the same. Enthusiastic, in a hurry to help others correct themselves, fix all the things that are not worth it. Jesus did not forbid us to advise others, but He commanded us first to take the beam out of our eye so that we can see clearly, and take the speck out of our eyes. It is to be more tolerant towards others and be stricter with ourselves. Do not consider our beam to be smaller than our brother’s trash. Do not exaggerate the sins of others, do not minimize our own. Humbly correct ourselves before advising others.
In the second part, Jesus gives us a criterion to recognize the real person: “You know the tree by its fruit.” The fruit here is the person’s real-life and what they do. If we look closely at a person’s work, we have a good chance of knowing who they are. Jesus spoke of a natural law of plants. A good tree will bear good fruit, a bad tree will produce bad fruit. The righteous are known for their good lives through the trials that they overcome, and through the sacrifices they make. The unrighteous person will be revealed through an evil life. A person’s life and actions reflect who they are. The thorn bush does not produce figs, and the bush does not produce grapes. Thorns and bushes cannot bear good fruit.
Life is the criterion for recognizing a true disciple of Jesus. Not just professing faith in the Master by exclaiming: “Lord! My God!” The point is to do what the Master teaches. Jesus surprised them by asking a question: Why believe in Me but not live what I teach? A true Christian comes to Jesus, listens to His words, and does them. Listening is not enough. The word of Jesus must permeate our lives, govern all actions, decisions, and choices. Jesus concluded his Sermon with the parable of two men who built a house. Many people have heard this Sermon, have felt good, but how many people will practice the teachings therein? A person who practices God’s Word is likened to a builder of a house with a solid foundation. Those who do not practice are like those who build a house without a foundation. From the outside, it looks like the two houses are not that different. Only when the flood came, and the water rushes into the house that the difference is seen. One base stood firm because of a good foundation, the other collapsed into pieces. We like to build tall buildings, but pay little attention to the foundation. We have heard so many passages of God’s Word, but still, only stop at meditation and prayer.
The Word of God has not taken root in action and life, because that requires a price, we want to turn our backs on. That is why our spiritual house is still unstable.
May God give us the courage to rebuild the foundation of our home.