Father Csaba’s reflection on the gospel 3 March 2019 Eight Sunday in Ordinary Time
It is easy to notice the splinter in others’ eyes , but very difficult to discover the plank in our own eye !
We are in the Congo, this morning starting at 6.30 am , Dr Richard Hardy a missionary monk took us to the local Franciscan Father , into a huge church , in Mbuyi Maji , a big town of two million people ! This is how early the Sunday holy mass starts here, so that in the morning dew , under cooler conditions the people gather for the holy mass and pray ! In this large city of two million , the same as in other parts of the Congo with 70 million people in most parts there is no electricity , drinking water , government organised health cover , provision of medical services , road systems , removal of garbage ….People gathered in the breaking dawn only by the light of two flickering candles ! Walking through the town we were dismayed to see this huge poverty , that afflicts people right in the vicinity of one of the world’s biggest diamond mines ! Everybody is poor here , even the police are obviously hungry begging for food and still in the early hours of the morning , at sunrise , in the beautiful beautiful glittering light everybody , dressed neatly comes to the holy mass. The ceremony lasted close on three hours, the cantor , the choir wit drum ,zither were praising the Lord of Life and together with the altar servers , including the main celebrant of the mass almost continuously was dancing , singing ! The young local Franciscan father was giving his sermon with great dynamism , happily inter native tongue , from which we could not understand much , but we were amazed the way the very many young people , adults and children trustingly were shouting , expressing loudly their likes upon hearing a good thought, a punch line ! Everybody came forth at the time of taking up the collection , and after offering of the donations everybody received a personal blessing ! With Father Szabolcs we personally blessed every single member of the congregation filling the huge church ! It was touching to see , the way the young people, children and adults one by one came forth in a long ,packed queue and bowed their heads in front of the priests of God . Here the babies in the women’s arms are almost universal, the child is part of the local folk costumes , just like high spirits , gaiety , the dance and the song !
Splinter and plank ?! In Europe many, many things have been put in place , it works more or less , but the zest for life , gaiety, but the many , many laughing , smiling children are missing from the young mother’s arms and not only from our churches , but form our families, society the children are missing also ! We are not giving thanks in the morning, that we managed to survive the night, because it is almost given that we live in peace , security , but here you yourself are responsible for safeguarding the public order for yourself, your family !
We made huge sacrifices for material wealth, in the schools, at the workplace it is not easy to live up to expectations of everybody in everything , and at times like this , the gaiety , high spirits wilt in our lives and it is easier to live up to the expectations unfortunately without a family, children! Seeing my singing, dancing fellow men at the holy mass at dawn I feel that to give up the future, to to deny, refuse the holy task of starting a family , acceptance of children is the greatest plank, compared to this plank here in Congo everything is just a fleeting small splinter !
With love ,
translated by dr k.e.
The Word of God
Jesus told a parable to his disciples: ‘Can one blind man guide another? Surely both will fall into a pit? The disciple is not superior to his teacher; the fully trained disciple will always be like his teacher. Why do you observe the splinter in your brother’s eye and never notice the plank in your own? How can you say to your brother, “Brother, let me take out the splinter that is in your eye,” when you cannot see the plank in your own? Hypocrite! Take the plank out of your own eye first, and then you will see clearly enough to take out the splinter that is in your brother’s eye.
‘There is no sound tree that produces rotten fruit, nor again a rotten tree that produces sound fruit. For every tree can be told by its own fruit: people do not pick figs from thorns, nor gather grapes from brambles. A good man draws what is good from the store of goodness in his heart; a bad man draws what is bad from the store of badness. For a man’s words flow out of what fills his heart.’