Detailed homily for the 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
Theme: OVERCOMING SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS
By: Rev Fr Gerald Muoka
Homily for Sunday February 27 2022
R1 – Sir 27:4-7
R2 – 1Cor 15:54-58
GOSPEL – Luke 6:39-45
A group of young boys all below the age of 12 were sitting around a dog in a tale of the moonlight setting. An older man came to them and asked what they were doing to the dog. The oldest among the boys replied, “We are just playing a game called the biggest liar.” The man asked him to explain how the game works. He continues, “Each of is expected to tell a lie in turns, one after the other. And at the end of the day, whoever tells the biggest lie, goes home with the dog.”
The old man couldn’t contain his disappointment as he shook his head and exclaimed, “Chim! This world is turning into another thing. How could you guys at this age be telling lies! To the notorious point of competing over who tells the biggest lie. When I was at your age, I never told a singles lie.” All the children murmured with displeasure as their spokesperson held the dog by his hand and replied, “Sir, you may have the dog. You’re the winner for today.”
For them, that was the biggest lie of the century that he never lied as a child.
Beloved in Christ, the readings of this Sunday’s liturgy, warn us against hypocrisy, self righteousness and holier-than-thou attitude, which sometimes, lure us into judging others harshly and criticising them unreasonably. The introit story, reflects how we often want to portray ourselves to others as better than we really are. When we all want to make a good impression! Whereby we forget that, “all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Heb. 4:13). God knows the very thoughts and intentions of our hearts (Heb. 4:12)
Sirach, in the first reading, teaches that what is inside us is revealed through our conversation; as the grain and husks are separated in a farmer’s sieve, as the quality of the shaped clay is revealed in the potter’s fire, and as the size and quality of a tree’s fruit reveal the care it has received from the planter. Sirach’s teaching serves as an excellent preview for today’s Gospel, which reminds us, when we’re feeling judgmental, to think before we speak because what comes out of our mouth reveals our heart.
In today’s Gospel passage, taken from the Sermon on the Plain given in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus condemns every careless, malicious and rash judgments about the behavior, feelings, motives, or actions of others by using the funny examples of one blind man leading another blind man and one man with a log stuck in his eye, trying to remove a tiny speck from another’s eye.
*FEATURES OF SELF RIGHTEOUSNESS*
Self righteousness is a sin which most believers get entangled with in their personal lives.
It happens knowingly or unknowingly, when we jump to conclusions, or when we refuse to listen to another person without hearing their side of the story, or when we develop an attitude towards a person based only on our limited experience with them – then we are not acting like men, but we are attempting to be God. And that is what Jesus condemns as self-righteousness. It is quite synonymous with hypocrisy.
The following are the characteristic features of self-righteousness:
(i) Self-Righteous people are always under the understanding that they are always right in their efforts and the can never be wrong.
(ii) They judge others for the very same sins that you commit. But the scripture warns, “Therefore, you have no excuse, everyone of you who passes judgment, for in that which you judge another, you condemn yourself; for you who judge practice the same things” (Rom 2:1).
(iii) A self-righteous hypocrite judges others based on selective standards, not on all of God’s Word. Such person, like the Pharisees picked out certain parts of the Law and prided themselves on their obedience, but they neglected the weightier parts of the Law (Matt. 23:23).
(vi) A self-righteous hypocrite is more concerned about external conformity than with true, inner godliness. Jesus said (Matt. 23:28), “So you, too, outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.”
(1) *WE SHOULD ESCHEW HYPOCRISY*
Hypocrisy is an undenial cacerworm that has eaten deep into the marrows of our christian faith today. Jesus frowns at it. When we ignore the glaring faults of our own, we point the finger of accusation, and whisper about them, and say, “How could they?” instead of asking “How could we?” We must look to our own sin first.
(3) *WE SHOULD AVOID JUDGING/CRITICISING OTHERS.*
One of the easiest things to do in life is to run criticisms and judgements on people and what they do. Most especially, when the aim is to denigrate and destroy.
We should bear in mind that there is so much bad in the best of us and so much good in the worst of us that it ill becomes any of us to find fault with the rest of us.”
According to Fr K. Anthony, we should stop judging and criticising others unnecessarily because:
(a) Only God is good enough to judge others because only him sees the whole truth, and only him can read the human heart.
(b) Our human limitations impedes us from seeing all the facts or circumstances or the power of the temptation which has led a person to do something evil.
(c) Our sense of Judgements is not totally without prejudice and sometimes could lack total fairness expected from us, especially when we are judging those near or dear to us.
(d) We have no right to judge because we have the same faults as the one, we are judging and often in a greater degree (remember Jesus’ funny example of a man with a log in his eye trying to remove the dust particle from another’s eye?) St. Philip Neri commented, watching the misbehavior of a drunkard: “There goes Philip but for the grace of God.” Abraham Lincoln said that the only one who has the right to criticize is the one who has the heart to help.
(3) *WE SHOULD LEAVE ALL JUDGMENT TO GOD AND PRACTICE MERCY AND FORGIVENESS*
As we judge others, may we never loose sight of the fact that: “When you point one finger of accusation at another, three of your fingers point at you.” A Jewish rabbi once advised: “He who judges others favorably will be judged favorably by God. We ought to imitate God who condemned us in his justice and showed us his merciful forgiveness.
Finally, a Man and his son were once going with their Donkey to market. As they were walking along by its side a countryman passed them and said: “You fools, what is a Donkey for but to ride upon?” So the Man put the Boy on the Donkey and they went on their way. But soon they passed a group of men, one of whom said: “See that lazy youngster, he lets his father walk while he rides.” So the Man ordered his Boy to get off, and got on himself. But they hadn’t gone far when they passed two women, one of whom said to the other: “Shame on that lazy lout to let his poor little son trudge along.” Well, the Man didn’t know what to do, but at last he took his Boy up before him on the Donkey. By this time, they had come to the town, and the passers-by began to jeer and point at them. The Man stopped and asked what they were scoffing at. The men said: “Aren’t you ashamed of yourself for overloading that poor donkey of yours and your hulking son? “The Man and Boy got off and tried to think what to do. They thought and they thought, till at last they cut down a pole, tied the donkey’s feet to it, and raised the pole and the donkey to their shoulders. They went along amid the laughter of all who met them till they came to Market Bridge, when the Donkey, getting one of his feet loose, kicked out and caused the Boy to drop his end of the pole. In the struggle the Donkey fell over the bridge, and his fore-feet being tied together he was drowned.
Beloved, criticisms and judgements can never be avoided in our society. Ensure you don’t promote oe contribute to it. Remember, “Please all, and you will please none.”
MAY GOD GRANT US THE GRACE TO ALWAYS AVOID SELF RIGHTEOUSNESS AND TO BE TRUE AND SINCERE TO OUR CHRISTIAN CALLING TO HOLINESS.
*GOD BLESS YOU!*
_FR GERALD MUOKA._