Taking the plank out

There is the story of a young monk who committed a serious sin. The other monks in the community gathered to

deliberate over what punishment he should receive. They called for the Abbot and they would not decide anything until he got there. The Abbot came. He was carrying an old basket which was full of holes. Filling it with sand he carried it behind him. Naturally as he walked along, he left a trail of sand in his wake. When the other monks saw this they asked him why he was carrying the basket full of sand when the basket had so many holes? The Abbot simply said” everywhere I go I leave a trail of faults behind me, only most of the time I don’t see them myself.” He then when on to say, “And today you want me to sit in judgement on my brother?” On hearing this the other monks were ashamed of themselves. Subsequently they abandoned any plans of passing judgement on the young monk and pardoned him.

Today’s Gospel is all about passing judgement on others.

Jesus warns that we can so quick to judge others that we quite often don’t see the faults in ourselves. It is a fact that we can be unaware of certain facts about ourselves which are perfectly clear to anyone who has ever worked or lived with us. It is an uncomfortable truth that what we don’t like to see in others is often present in ourselves.

The challenge that today’s Gospel sets before us is to be positive about all other people and accept them for who they are.

/There is another story where a grandmother brought her granddaughter to Gandhi. She asked him to help her granddaughter to stop eating so many sweets. Gandhi replied, “bring her back next week.” The grandmother did what Gandhi had asked her and presented her granddaughter to him the following week. She received the same reply “bring her back next week.” This went on for four weeks. On the last occasion Gandhi said to the granddaughter “Stop eating so many sweets.” The grandmother was exasperated and said to Gandhi “you mean to say I had to bring back my own granddaughter for 4 weeks in a row just to hear you say that? Why?” Gandhi replied, “It has taken me that long to stop eating too many sweets myself.”

As Christians of course we should be concerned about others. However, we cannot guide others unless we see the way clearly ourselves.

Events of the past week

Dear friends, this week the lifting of the suppression order concerning Cardinal George Pell’s trial and the sustained media focus has made for a challenging time for the Catholic Church in Melbourne. We will all have different ways of both responding to this news and making sense of it.

For some it heralds another chapter in the already painful journey that Catholics have been a part of over the last few years. Some of us may feel upset and saddened by the news. Some of us may just feel very weary about the way our Church is being portrayed in the media. There are those in our community who have been abused and the story touches on and may re-open already raw wounds. 

On this the last Sunday prior to Lent we gather around the table of the Lord. We pray that God will continue to journey with us as we search to understand, accept and acknowledge the challenges of our times. We hold in our thoughts and prayers all those who have suffered abuse within the Church.  

Fr Alan