So there's a plank in my eye, but I notice the speck in yours.
And I'm supposed to control my speech and not mention your speck. Oh, whatever.
Today's Gospel is from Luke, but the same speck and plank appear in Matthew. We're told about this twice.
It has not escaped my notice that we are told to watch our words using what teaching method? -- words? We have words to tell us to control our words. This is a classic "do as I say, not as I do" kind of thing. And frankly I don't buy it.
If we are Liberal Catholics and the word "liberal" means "free" ... why do I need to control anything? That is oppression, not freedom.
The psychologist Carl Jung would say that whatever you hate most in others is really something about yourself that you don't like. He calls this your Shadow Self.
I've heard others talk about this passage by stressing "first take the plank out of your own eye." After it's out, then you can go talk about other people again. You can preach and wag your finger at people because you'll be right. I'm okay, but you need work.
Balderdash. How much misery has been caused by people who thought they were right?
I imagine that Hitler thought he was right... that he was doing the right thing... that he was a moral person. I imagine that Jerry Falwell says prayers and reads sacred books. I imagine that the Jesuits and Dominicans who were leaders of the Inquisition thought they were going about God's work when they judged others and tortured others and burned others at the stake.
What Dr. Jung and his Shadow Self tell us is that if we fix ourselves, others become fixed too. We don't get answers, the very question goes away.
On a good day, when I am okay with myself, I don't even notice the very things that used to get me worked up. Rick has asked me "why are you putting up with (whatever)" and I have to say that I din't notice.
On a bad day, I don't need Rick or anybody else to tell me what should be upset about. I already know. I already see your speck. I already know exactly what you are doing wrong. And the plank in my own eye is completely irrelevant.
The difference, I think, is acceptance of myself and other. And the difference, I think, is being quiet enough to listen to the Holy Spirit. The difference, says the Christ, is when you see the holiness in the least ones. Blessed are the poor... blessed are the poor in spirit... who see holiness in all others.
I want to go one step beyond Carl Jung. We don't need to fix anything. In Buddhism, nothing gets fixed. You don't win salvation. The highest thing is enlightenment -- awareness of what is really going on. You don't have to "do" anything or "not do" anything. It is the opening of a flower, revealing the stamens inside. The opening doesn't cause anything to happen: we merely become aware of them.
In India, they have a word "namaste" that comes from the word "to bow." Namaste is when one person recognizes the holy nature of another. Namaste is when my holy nature pays homage to your holy nature. Mothers do namaste. Kings do namaste. Holy Ones do namaste. In India, it comes with prayer hands: the higher the hands, the higher the hands show a higher respect. Hands up around the Crown Chakra are reserved for God. Hands at the Third Eye or the mouth or the heart are common.
We do namaste, too. At the sign of peace today, do namaste. You don't have to use the word, but remember that it is the holy nature inside you recognizing the holy nature inside others. We're not in India, so you don't have to do the hands... but try to allow the holy nature inside you to recognize the holy nature inside others.
Then later in today's Mass, you will see God's response. Notice what happens at the end of Communion. The priest stands at the altar and faces you. Holding the chalice and remaining hosts, the priest bows. That isn't by accident. You have the body and blood of the Christ inside you, and the priest holding the body and blood of the Christ bows. Watch for it. Namaste. Namaste.