Interior of the Church of Saint Katherine’s with the Parable of the Mote and the Beam,
Etched by Daniel Hopfer (1470-1536),
Executed circa 1530,
Etching on paper
© Metropolitan Museum of art, New York
How dare you say to your brother, “Let me take the splinter out of your eye"
Jesus said to his disciples: 'Do not judge, and you will not be judged; because the judgements you give are the judgements you will get, and the amount you measure out is the amount you will be given. Why do you observe the splinter in your brother's eye and never notice the plank in your own? How dare you say to your brother, "Let me take the splinter out of your eye," when all the time there is a plank in your own? Hypocrite! Take the plank out of your own eye first, and then you will see clearly enough to take the splinter out of your brother's eye.'
Reflection on the Etching
Our engraving by Daniel Hopfer illustrates how we often observe the 'splinter in our brother's eye and never notice the plank in our own'. We see a figure on the right with his right arm pointing at the splinter in the eye of the gentleman in front of him, whilst having a large beam in his own eye. The onlookers are watching at the scene in amazement. The lavish, grand interior church setting makes the beam look even more prominent.
Jesus is very clear that we shouldn't judge others, but only ourselves. He is aware of the hypocrisy which we spoke about a few days ago. He is aware of our hypocrisy in our judgment towards others, when we have our own major issues to deal with. He is calling us in today's reading to self-reflection: what are my sins, what are my shortcomings, what are my weaknesses… what is in our own hearts? If we address our own sins first, we can remove that plank in our own eye and therefore better see, with both eyes, the other's person's needs, rather than his or her shortcomings.
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