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I was lucky this past week during the retreat I was leading at the Spiritual Center where I live that quick action and skill avoided a serious accident. Participants were out in pairs pruning trees and observing how mindfully they could be in working together. Suddenly, a large branch that had been wind-tossed during a storm came down and left a small piece of bark in the eye of one of the participants. It was quickly removed (to my great relief) by another “guardian angel” in the group and the pruning continued.

You can, perhaps, guess that today’s gospel was the famous text from Luke 6 where Jesus uses hyperbole to make his point. He asks, “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye?” He sounds frustrated, even calling that kind of offender a hypocrite. “You hypocrite! Remove the wooden beam from your own eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter in your brother’s eye!”

Even a speck of dust in my eye can be painful. I notice any such invasion right away. I should take note of that when I begin to speak about the failings of others that seem so offensive, and practice reminding myself each time I am rubbing my eye to see clearly that focusing on the gifts of others would be a better way to avoid spiritual blindness of any kind.