POPE FRANCIS: LIKE JESUS, BE A WISE AND EXEMPLARY GUIDE OF OTHERS.
Below you have the ZENIT translation of the address Pope Francis gave March 3, 2019, before praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter’s Square.
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Before the Angelus:
Dear Brothers and Sisters, good morning!
Today’s evangelical page presents brief parables, with which Jesus wants to point out to His disciples the way to follow to live with wisdom. With the question: “Can a blind man lead a blind man?” (Luke 6:39), He wishes to stress that a guide can’t be blind, but must see well, namely, he must have the wisdom to guide with wisdom, otherwise he risks causing harm to the persons who entrust themselves to him. So Jesus calls the attention of all those that have educative responsibility or of command: Pastors of souls, public authorities, lawmakers, teachers, parents, exhorting them to be aware of their delicate role and to always discern the right way on which to lead people.
And Jesus borrows a sapiential expression to indicate Himself as the model of teacher and guide to follow: “A disciple is not above His teacher, but everyone when he is fully taught, will be like his teacher” (v. 40). It’s an invitation to follow His example and His teaching to be sure and wise guides. And this teaching is enclosed especially in the Sermon on the Mount, which for three Sundays the liturgy proposes to us in the Gospel, indicating the attitude of meekness and of mercy to be sincere, humble and just persons. In today’s passage, we find another significant phrase, which exhorts us not to be presumptuous and hypocritical. It says thus: “Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?” (v. 41). So many times, we all know it, it’s easier and more comfortable to see and condemn the defects and sins of others, without being able to see our own with as much lucidity. We always hide our defects, we hide them even from ourselves; instead, it’s easy to see others’ defects. The temptation is to be indulgent with oneself — to be easy going with oneself and hard with others. It’s always useful to help one’s neighbor with wise counsels; however, while we observe and correct the defects of our neighbor, we must be aware that we ourselves also have defects. If I think I don’t have any, I can’t condemn and correct others. We all have defects — all. We must be aware of <our defects> and, before condemning others, we must look within ourselves. Thus we can act in a credible way, with humility, witnessing charity.
How can we know if our eye is free or if a beam impedes it? It’s again Jesus who tells us: “For no good tree bears bad fruit, nor again does a bad tree bear good fruit; for each tree is known by its fruit” (vv. 43-44). The fruit is actions, but also words. Also from words, one knows the quality of the tree. In fact, one who is good brings out good from his heart and his mouth, and one who is evil brings out evil practicing the most deleterious exercise among us, which is murmuring, gossip, speaking badly of others. This destroys, it destroys the family, it destroys the school, it destroys the workplace, it destroys the neighborhood. Wars begin from the tongue. Let us think a bit about this teaching of Jesus and ask ourselves the question: do I speak badly of others? Do I always try to soil others? Is it easier for me to see the defects of others than my own? And let us try to correct ourselves at least a bit: it will do us all good.
We invoke the support and intercession of Mary to follow the Lord on this path.
© Libreria Editrice Vaticana
[Original text: Italian] [ZENIT’s translation by Virginia M. Forrester]