for Sunday, February 27, 2022
This is the Eighth Sunday of Ordinary Time. Usually, Lent would have begun
by now, but this year it is late. Also, when we return to ordinary time in June, we usually
begin with the 9th or 10th Sunday of the year, so poor number 8 rarely is celebrated.
The readings for today are full of aphorisms. An aphorisms is an adage, or a
tersely phrased statement of the truth. Let's look at three of the aphorisms found in t he
Gospel of Luke.
"Can a blind man act as a guide to a blind man. Will they not both fall into a
People cannot teach until they have learned. This is true in every aspect of life,
but particularly in the Church. In the Catholic Church we are blessed with a teaching
authority. This authority is often given the Latin word for teacher and called the
Magisterium. The magisterium consists in the Pope, the Bishops, theologians and
consultants. The duty of the magisterium is to set the course for us to relate our faith
and morals to the evolving times. We take this for granted because most of us have
always been Catholic and have always had the body of our faith presented in a rather
neat package. But dogmatic statements didn't just happen. They evolved over many
centuries as the Church continues to grow in its understanding of itself.
The magisterium does not just exist among the hierarchy. It also exists in the
home among the confirmed. Those who have received the sacrament of confirmation
have received the gift of the Holy Spirit to grow in their understanding of the faith.
When, as all human beings, we have times of doubt, or times that we have difficulty
understanding what we believe or why we believe, we have to go to books and
knowledgeable people in the area. We also have to go to our knees and pray to Holy
Spirit to help us grow in faith. The blind cannot lead the blind. That is why we have
been gifted with the Holy Spirit. That is why we have the magisterium.
"Why look at the speck in your brother's eye when you miss the plank in your
Psychologist might restate this second aphorisms in these terms: we tend to
transfer our irritation over our own failings to others. So we decry another person's
faults as a way of hiding our own. The Lord was quite a psychologist when he said,
"First deal with your own faults." When we go through those negative days when
everything other people do irritates us, we have to take a step back and consider what
we are doing that upsets others, and, even more, what we are doing that upsets
"A good tree does not produce decayed fruit anymore than a decayed tree
produces good fruit. Each tree is known by its yield."
The final aphorism is that each tree is known by its fruit. When a person does
good things, we know this is a good person. When a person is continually stirring up
trouble, we know that this person is troubled. The fruit reveals the person. In the same
way, it is not enough for us to say we are saved and then live as pagans. In fact, it is
not enough to say we are saved. What we need to say is that we are being saved, in
the process of being saved. Our actions must reflect God's gift to us. If they don't, then
we are in fact rejecting his salvation. Yes, we always depend upon the mercy of God,
but we have to respond to this mercy by doing our best to live the Christian life. If we
don't than our fruits, our actions will demonstrate the insincerity of our conversion.
This Wednesday Lent begins. I need this Lent. Perhaps you do too. Lent is a
time for us to grow in our faith life, let the magisterium and Holy Spirit guide us. Lent is
a time for us to look into ourselves. How is the upset we have with others a reflection of
our own faults? Lent is a time to consider our living of the Christian life. Do our actions
demonstrate Christ's continuing conversion in our lives?
May you and I allow God to take control of every aspect of our lives.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Sirach 27.4-7
Second Reading: 1 Corinthians 15.54-58
Gospel: Luke 6.39-45
This material is used with permission of its author, Rev. Msgr. Joseph A. Pellegrino, Diocese of St. Petersburg, FL. Visit his
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: