Jesus, we are told at the beginning of today's Gospel selection, is telling his disciples "a parable." But what follows is a group of sayings, statements, that are more metaphorical in nature than parable-like. All these statements revolve around a theme of self-knowledge, self-evaluation, self-growth and self-worth, leading to the wisdom and the ability to grow the kingdom Jesus is announcing from a place of authenticity.
Jesus realizes that our human nature is such that we can have a penchant for taking the easier way (pointing at someone else's faults) than the more challenging path (understanding our motives, drives, desires). All of these one-liner-sayings Jesus throws at us today point to what happens when we travel in the world in this manner. The speck and the log, good trees and bad trees ability to bear the opposite type of fruit, figs and thorns, grapes and brambles, good hearts and unhealthy hearts, houses built on bedrock and those built on sand, are all pointing at this truth that if we do not do the necessary work to truthfully understand ourselves, and only then turn to help build the kingdom, our work will not be long-lasting.
This is a lifetime's journey and one we can never forget to keep walking along on, otherwise we become that person with a log obscuring our vision, trying to figure out how to fix that speck that is slightly blurring someone else's sight. Hard but necessary work that only leads us to a much better place.
Copyright 2011, The Rev. John F. Dwyer. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Tulips @ VTS, 2007, jfd+