In the First Reading, St Paul compares himself to a runner in the games. He tells us to run in such a way that you may win it. Athletes exercise self control in all things. If I think being a Christian is easy, I will be surprised. It is difficult because it requires knowing myself so I can control myself. I can only know myself when I know God. To know God, I must take time to form myself in virtues that are consistent with the Gospel. St Paul compares this to an athlete training himself: I do not run aimlessly, nor do I box as though beating the air; but I punish my body and enslave it, so that after proclaiming to others I myself should not be qualified. It will indeed be a sad thing if I proclaim the Gospel and later discover I am not qualified.
This is what Jesus meant when he said in today’s Gospel: why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? If I think being a Christian is about following rules or rituals then I will tend to judge others and be critical of them. Pope Benedict XVI tells us being a Christian is encountering a person and an event that leads to a new horizon and a decisive direction. Being a Christian is about encountering Jesus Christ, knowing him, loving him, serving him. As in all relationships, we cannot compare others to ourselves because everyone has a unique relationship with the one they love.
We do not look at how others love God because that is between them and him. But we can judge their actions, whether they are sinful or not. But before I judge I need to make sure I am not deficient in what I am to correct. This is why it is important that I know myself. Otherwise, it will be foolish for me to do so. Correction though must be done in a manner that is appropriate with the person we are correcting. Pope Francis speaks of this as accompanying people. However, stop at accompaniment, failing to mention that Pope Francis also said that there may be times when we have to stop accompanying another person. Accompaniment has its limit and purpose. We do not go around beating the air, but there has to be an intention. If by accompaniment, we mean encouraging them in their sin, that is not accompaniment. The purpose of accompaniment is to lead them to Christ, because only Jesus can save us and no one else.
Lord, reveal myself to me. Let me know you so I can know myself because it is only in your Light that I can truly discover myself. May I learn to love you and seek you.