Reading 1 (SIRACH 27:4-7)

A reading from the Book of Sirach

When a sieve is shaken, the husks appear;
so do one’s faults when one speaks.
As the test of what the potter molds is in the furnace,
so in tribulation is the test of the just.
The fruit of a tree shows the care it has had;
so too does one’s speech disclose the bent of one’s mind.
Praise no one before he speaks,
for it is then that people are tested.

– The word of the Lord.

Responsorial Psalm (PSALM 92:2-3, 13-14, 15-16)

R. (cf. 2a) Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.
It is good to give thanks to the LORD,
to sing praise to your name, Most High,
To proclaim your kindness at dawn
and your faithfulness throughout the night.
R. Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.
The just one shall flourish like the palm tree,
like a cedar of Lebanon shall he grow.
They that are planted in the house of the LORD
shall flourish in the courts of our God.
R. Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.
They shall bear fruit even in old age;
vigorous and sturdy shall they be,
Declaring how just is the LORD,
my rock, in whom there is no wrong.
R. Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.

Reading 2 (1 CORINTHIANS 15:54-58)

A reading from the 1st Letter of St. Paul to the Corinthians

Brothers and sisters:
When this which is corruptible clothes itself with incorruptibility
and this which is mortal clothes itself with immortality,
then the word that is written shall come about:
Death is swallowed up in victory.
Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?

The sting of death is sin,
and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters,
be firm, steadfast, always fully devoted to the work of the Lord,
knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

– The word of the Lord.

Alleluia (PHILIPPIANS 2:15D, 16A)

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Shine like lights in the world
as you hold on to the word of life.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Gospel (LUKE 6:39-45)

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke

Jesus told his disciples a parable,
“Can a blind person guide a blind person?
Will not both fall into a pit?
No disciple is superior to the teacher;
but when fully trained,
every disciple will be like his teacher.
Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye,
but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?
How can you say to your brother,
‘Brother, let me remove that splinter in your eye,’
when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye?
You hypocrite!  Remove the wooden beam from your eye first;
then you will see clearly
to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye.

“A good tree does not bear rotten fruit,
nor does a rotten tree bear good fruit.
For every tree is known by its own fruit.
For people do not pick figs from thornbushes,
nor do they gather grapes from brambles.
A good person out of the store of goodness in his heart produces good,
but an evil person out of a store of evil produces evil;
for from the fullness of the heart the mouth speaks.”

– The Gospel of the Lord.

Reflection: We are on the last Sunday before the Season of Lent begins with Ash Wednesday. And the Lenten Season invites us to reconciliation with God and one another. On this 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time, the liturgy invites us that the goodness of God will always prevail and should always prevail in our lives. The First Reading from the Book of Sirach presents to us different images on how we deal with life. They depict to us on life is like a sieve that is shaken that the husks appear, a potter that molds clay in the furnace, and a fruit in the tree that shows how it has been cared. This serves as a reminder that we do not deserve praise, for we are all being tested. It shows the mortality of life that we may experience trials, but it is also a call towards holiness, faithfulness, goodness, and service. The Gospel Reading shows us another image, that a tree is known by its fruits. Just as a good tree cannot bear rotten fruit, the figs cannot be picked from thorn bushes, and the grapes are not gathered from brambles, so it is that the goodness should be abundant in our life. Thus Jesus in the earlier part tells us to have a good outlook with regards to our relationship with other people. If the Gospel last Sunday tells us to love our enemies and conquer evil with good, then we are reminded today to remove the splinters from our eyes before commanding others to do so. Our biases and prejudices can hinder us from seeing a better outlook of the person we’re encountering. The kind of judgemental attitude is described by Jesus as like a blind person that leads another blind person into the pit. Sometimes we influence others to show our superiority over those who are considered to be “sinners”. The true Christian is that who has love that is unconditional and selfless serving and knows how to relate with others faithfully. This is also the same with how we reconcile with those who have wronged us. That is why the Second Reading reminds us that a good life must prevail, just as how Christ conquered death for us. Showing our love, reconciling with one another, and removing the prejudices and biases towards other people are ways how we can be firm and steadfast with our present labor in this world, so as to attain the glory of eternal life in Heaven.

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