The Just and the Blind

On the Sunday prior to Lent’s beginnings, the 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time, the liturgy invites us to make a choice: whom do we wish to follow?

Newsroom (03/03/2022 7:39, Gaudium PressEvery man has for himself someone who is his “model” of life.

In fact, it is very common to see a small child paying unique attention to those around him, trying, little by little, to imitate them. As time goes by – without her realizing it – she is already looking for someone who represents for her a way of being and living that she should follow. This phenomenon, although it begins in childhood, plays an important role throughout a person’s entire life.

The best models

Christianus alter Christus, the Christian is another Christ, so the saying goes. Our Lord Jesus Christ constitutes for every Christian the perfect and supreme “model” of life. He Himself ratified it when He said: “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6). Besides leaving us His example, Jesus founded the Church, which is His mystical body, whose mission is to lead people toward perfect identification with His Head, who is the Divine Savior.

Since the Holy Church is a spiritual but visible society, composed of human members, God always raises in it archetypes so that the faithful may correctly follow the paths that lead them to the heavenly mansions. These are the ones she considers to be saints: people who have fully molded their lives according to the evangelical dictates, becoming living models for other Catholics, her brothers and sisters in the faith.

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Such was the case of a Saint Dominic of Gusmão, who arose, when the Cathar heresy was raging in France, to defend the true faith admirably. Or again, to take an example closer to us, the great missionary Saint Joseph of Anchieta, who left his homeland to come to Brazil to evangelize those lands that later became so fertile for Catholicism.

Thus, God never allows the lack of guides in charge of leading His people.

The true and false guides

Now, in Sunday’s liturgy, Our Lord in his infinite wisdom, knowing the entire course of human history, wanted to warn his disciples against any false model that could present itself throughout the ages, until the end of the world.

In the parable elaborated by the Divine Master, we see how a blind man cannot let himself be guided by another blind man, with the danger of falling into the same hole (Cf. Lk 6:39). Now, He further states that:

“A disciple is not greater than the master; every well-formed disciple will be like the master” (Lk 6:40).

Here we have a perfect description of a false model. He is like a blind man who does not see things in the light of Christ’s true teachings, and is therefore in no way “like the master”, because he preaches a doctrine inconsistent with the doctrine announced by Our Lord. This, he is very far from being a “well-formed disciple”.

The problem is that he often presents himself as a true follower of the Master and thus manages to divert many people from the true course. How, then, to differentiate between the real and the false model?

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The Savior left us an answer:

“There is no good tree that bears bad fruit nor a bad tree that bears good fruit. Every tree is recognized by its fruits” (Lk 6:43-44).

It is the works that bear witness to the truthfulness and credibility of the true disciple of Christ. He is always upright and defends the truth, whatever the price. Storms and trials, persecutions and difficulties may come upon him, but he never bends before the threats of the wicked. He who truly leads others according to the Gospel always bears the banner of authentic catholicity. But above all, his life is blameless, of total honesty.

In this way, today’s liturgy makes it clear that there will always be such shepherds, even though the world is in an almost hopeless situation. For there must be righteous men, excellent models of life, whom we can (and need to) follow. Therefore, exclaims the Apostle:

“Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord, Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 15:57).

By Jerome Sequeira Vaz

 

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