February 25, 2022

Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time / Msgr. Owen F. Campion

The Sunday Readings

Msgr. Owen Campion This weekend, the Church observes the Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time. The first reading for Mass this weekend is from the Book of Sirach.

The passage mentions guilt and tribulation. Bad things come upon good people, and everyone knows it. Most people, even the devout and well-intentioned, have experienced this difficult reality.

Sirach goes farther. People may be the victims of forces beyond their control—storms, diseases, violence and the wickedness of others. In other cases, they may bring distress upon themselves.

Whether the case is foolishness, the deliberate creation of trouble in our lives or the consequences of helplessness, humans must cope. Sirach reminds us of potters. We mold the vessels of our souls.

St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Corinthians furnishes the next reading. The reading speaks of death, a fact inevitable for every living creature, but always avoided and feared.

Try as we may, as human minds have attempted since time began, death may be delayed, but it never ceases to be the eventual termination of every earthly life.

Instead of admitting death in despondency or fatalism, St. Paul directs our minds to the overall, basic reality. Life is changed by death, but not ended. Life endures in eternity. Persons may prepare for it and can be assured that it can be a blessing for themselves if they are steadfast and fully devoted to the work of the Lord.

St. Luke’s Gospel is the source of the last reading. As is the custom of this Gospel, the message is straightforward and clear, in part because its vocabulary is so apparent in its lesson and to the point.

The examples employed by Luke leave no room for confusion or mixed message. No one wonders what blindness means. Pure, simple and always, it means the loss of vision.

No one discounts the presence of a splinter or any foreign object in an eye. In this day of efficient ophthalmology, the intrusion of a foreign object into an eye is not dismissed as nothing of concern.

The passage’s basic assertion is that, to an extent, all humans are blind, but not doomed to struggling in everlasting darkness to find a way forward.

Obviously, Luke was implying that the Lord is our guide in all blindness, narrow vision, blurred vision and shortsightedness.

The Gospel hits another nail on the head. Before we can follow the Lord, we must admit to ourselves that we need the guidance of Jesus. This admission is not always quick and easy.

Some may have not just splinters, but wooden beams in their eyes, distorting their vision.


Lent will begin in a few days. Ash Wednesday is just ahead of us.

In providing these readings on this last Sunday of Ordinary Time before Lent begins, the Church calls us to fundamental facts.

At some time in the future, without exception, every person will die. During life, most people will have to deal with problems, doubts, heartaches, weaknesses, rejection and everything in the long catalog of human misery.

This is simply the way it is. But in these readings, the Church is telling us we can open our eyes and see what matters. We aren’t helpless before whatever may assail us, even death.

The sight of what truly is important has strengthened and brightened human hearts forever. Conviction and submission to the Lord are the keys.

Give faith a try. This process starts with realizing that we are blind, that we too often wander onto detours and that we make our own beds.

We need Jesus. Period.

Lent will be the opportunity, time-tested through the many long centuries, to face these facts, to allow the Lord to perfect our vision, remove the wooden beams from our eyes and to look to him, the light of the world. †

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