By Linda Bordoni
Pope Francis on Sunday reflected on the Gospel reading of the day in which Jesus invites his disciples to be good role models.
He was speaking to the crowds gathered in a sunny St. Peter’s Square for the Angelus Prayer when he took his cue from the Gospel of Luke in which Jesus poses the question “Can a blind person guide a blind person?”
A leader must have clear vision
Jesus wants to emphasize that a guide – a leader - cannot be blind, but must see well, meaning that he must possess wisdom, the Pope explained, otherwise he risks causing damage to the people who entrust themselves to him.
In particular, the Pope said, Jesus calls to attention those who have educational or leadership responsibilities: the pastors of souls, public authorities, legislators, teachers, parents, urging them to be aware of their delicate role and to always discern the right path on which to lead others.
Then Jesus, he continued indicates himself as a model for teachers and guides to follow with the words “No disciple is superior to the teacher; but when fully trained, every disciple will be like his teacher”.
This, the Pope said, is an invitation to follow His example and His teaching in order to be good and wise guides.
He noted that this teaching is contained above all in the Sermon on the Mount that has been proposed to us during the liturgy of the past three Sundays.
Attitude of meekness and mercy
Pope Francis said it is necessary to have an attitude of meekness and mercy in order to be sincere, humble and just. He pointed out that in today’s reading there is another significant phrase that exhorts us not to be presumptuous and hypocritical: “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?”
“It is often easier or more convenient”, he said, “to see and condemn the faults and sins of others, than it is to see our own. The temptation, he explained, is to be indulgent with oneself, even justifying attitudes that are wrong; while, when it comes to judging others, we often do so severely, without striving to read their hearts”.
The Pope said it is good and useful to help one's neighbor with wise advice, but he said, while we observe and correct the faults of our neighbor, we must be aware that we too have faults.
“In this way, we will be credible, and we will act with humility, witnessing to charity” he said.
Focusing again on the Gospel of Luke, Pope Francis asked: “How can we understand if our vision is clear or if a beam is preventing us from seeing clearly?”
Jesus, he said, tells us that: “A good tree does not bear rotten fruit, nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit”.
The evil of gossip
Actions, he said, are the fruit, but so are words. And highlighting how words are indicative of the quality of the tree, the Pope warned against the “harmful exercise of gossip” saying that “he who is good, draws good from his heart and from his mouth, while he who is evil, produces evil”.
The Pope concluded saying that today’s reading offers us useful indications for our journey of faith, and invites us to be discerning “before every choice and every action”.
“Discernment is a gift of the Lord”, he said, “and must be implored with unceasing prayer” and at the same time it requires humility, patience and the ability to listen and to understand others.