Motjari Meeting, Feb 27, 2022 Fr. Foeclker’s Lecture Note

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      Motjari meeting, Fr. Foeckler’s Lecture Note by Baeyoung



      8th Sunday of Ordinary Time, this Wed. is Ash Wednesday.


      Note: I did miss a few things here and there.


      The Bishop gave Fr. the permission (due to the war in Ukraine) to say mass for peace in times of civil disturbance and war. But Fr. noticed the opening prayer of the mass was already about peace. He said that mass earlier in the week – the 2 opening prayers for mass said this:

      The Lord became my protector; he brought me out to a place of freedom. He saved me, because he delighted in me. → Thought it was very fitting, fighting for their freedom in ukraine

      Grant us O Lord we pray tht the course of our world may be directed by your peaceful rule, and that our church may be untroubled… ahh I didn’t get it

      “The course of our world directed by His peaceful rule”, that His church would be “untroubled in her devotions to the Lord”

      His governance of peace will guide our world. 

      Let’s make our intention for our class today to be one of solidarity for those in Ukraine.


      The two readings to focus on are the Gospel and the first reading from the Book of Sirach, of Wisdom



      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.”


      First Reading


      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.


      Book of Sirach is the last of all the Wisdom books, and those books are a summary, really, of sayings, basic teachings, of the Old Testament. 


      The Book of Sirach’s original name in Greek and Hebrew was “The Book of Wisdom of Jesus, the Son of Sirach”. Jesus was a common name in Israel – Joshua was a form of the name Jesus. The person who wrote this book’s name was Jesus too. 


      Kinda interesting: in the Gospel, we hear Jesus speaking of these parables. Blind leading the blind is a wisdom statement.

      Gospel = The Evangelial, the “Good News” of Jesus Christ. We could also call it the Wisdom of Jesus, the Son of Joseph because Jesus teaches a lot of wise things.


      Anybody know Confucius? Think of his sayings of wisdom: “A man who speaks without modesty in his speech can never say something good.” For us Catholics, us Christians, we must look to the wisdom of Jesus. And there’s a lot of wisdom we can look at.


      The Gospel today is short, but it’s all connected. Everything is condensed. Jesus is teaching us his wisdom. At the end, we’ll try to connect it with our preparation with Lent.


      The job of a disciple: a disciple is simply, a word for “student.” But it goes beyond just being a learner, a listener. There’s something else: the disciple has to imitate the actions, the lifestyle, the virtues of the teacher. 


      There’s been many teachers throughout history, but only one out of all the teachers whose life we have to imitate – Jesus. Nobody was like Jesus. This is the fundamental job of Christians. The image in the New Testament is to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, doing just like the leader does. We’re gonna walk the same way. We’re gonna act the same way he did.


      Jesus starts this whole section by asking a riddle: Can a blind person lead a blind person? And the answer is no. If a blind person can’t see the obstacles in front of them, they’re going to lead the other into the obstacle, and both will get stuck and hurt. But why does Jesus ask that? 


      Whenever we have a question in Scripture, the way to try and find the answer – the most important way to try and understand it is to keep reading. Read what’s around it. Where is Jesus talking? Who is he talking to? What else is he saying to his disciples? Usually he’s giving his disciples a lesson – he’s not just telling us one phrase. He continues. He stops and wants to kind of emphasize. Verse 41: Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own?


      All of us have had a speck in our eye: we try to roll it to one side, try to get it out because it bothers us. But imagine it was a wooden beam! Jesus is making it sound ridiculous, but it makes sense. How can you see the flaws in your brother that you can’t even see the big thing wrong with you?


      We’ve all heard this parable before. And Jesus tells the logical thing: remove the beam in your own eye, and then you’ll be able to help your brother with the itty bitty splinter. He’s not talking about a blind person, but someone who doesn’t know himself: a blindness of the self, especially to see what he needs to improve. We have to recognize our own beams in our eyes. 


      SOmetimes we don’t recognize what’s wrong with us. And, therefore, we can’t get better. And worse, we start to think we’re better than other people – and we don’t even work on ourselves. Fr. had a friend, where just the other day they were talking and had some difficulties. Fr. pointed something out and his friend said: “You know, you can give good advice, but you get too worked up sometimes. And when you get too worked up, people only see your emotion and not your reasons.”


      He was dumbfounded, but they are good friends. This friend had the courage to tell him what he needed to work on. He thanked the person up and down, knowing that they were saying that to help him. That’s what we’re supposed to do.


      *He knows people in Ukraine. They’re relatively safe, the war isn’t happening around them. But what do they do? One of the communities is a community of ladies and they have 8 orphans they have to take care of. One is in Poland; they’re thinking of taking 1 or 2 children as refugees and going to the house. But to cross the border now is close to impossible, around 24 hours to wait in line to cross the border. *


      This is a key thing for the spiritual life. Especially listening to the advice and observations of people. Jesus isn’t saying “Never correct your brother” – he’s saying “Make sure that if you correct someone, you’re not guilty of the same thing that he is.” It spoke to Fr. very clearly today. Really important example of how to learn.


      Jesus is offering us this little bit of advice, but then he goes on to the next part about the tree. Remember, what’s the main point he wants us to think about?


      Self. Knowledge. Look at yourself and your actions. Don’t be blind to yourself. You have to perceive the beam in your eye before the speck in your brother or sister’s eye.


      He goes on about the tree. He says another saying of wisdom. Again, this is something we should always remember – it applies to life in general.


      “You judge a tree by its fruit.”


      You can look at the cause by judging the effect. The fruit reveals the cause, where it came from. This is all in a parable, in a riddle, in a question. Every tree is known by its fruit: “For people do not pick figs from thornbushes,

      nor do they gather grapes from brambles.”


      Now Jesus is talking about a good person – the person and the tree are the same thing: “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.”

      Evil: sins, bad works

      It’s what’s inside that produces the fruit. But the fruit shows us, “Is the inside good?” I can only judge the inside by what comes out. You never judge a person before they’ve spoken. → Connection to Sirach


      This is where the connection to Sirach becomes clear. Let’s connect the two.


      Good speech comes from a good heart. My language – what I say, how I say it (think emotional, too worked up) – reflects my heart. I have to ask myself, “What characterizes my speech?”

      Do I speak good things about people? Or criticisms, bad things?

      Do I use bad language?

      If a person is upset, we know because they’re talking loud, with anger, maybe bad words, or if they’re telling lies that’s another sign their speech is not good. That shows the inside.

      But if someone speaks positive, says what people have to say, and in general doesn’t speak a lot, but when he does speak people listen – that says a lot.


      We have to examine ourselves by our speech. Not just to control our speech, but so we know what’s on the inside. We have to work on the inside.


      When the disciples are fully trained, that means they have all this goodness inside. Because ultimately the goodness we have inside comes from the Lord. We have this great tendency for evil — to be angry, to be complaining, to not do or say what we’re supposed to do. We’re not bad. Nobody’s made bad by God. But we have this tremendous influence in us – we have to make a special effort to be good. This is why we need Baptism, to pray, Communion; we need the goodness of God to saturate our heart. 


      We have to know ourselves, analyze ourselves, and form our heart. What we say reveals our heart, but it also forms us. If I realize that I speak with a lot of anger, I need to work on fixing that anger. If I speak positively, that’s a good sign. That’s something I should follow. Not only does speech reveal what’s on the inside, it makes us and reflects what we are.


      We have to make our hearts like the Lord’s. That’s his main point here. It’s specifically about self-knowledge and about speech. If you’re a disciple, you won’t be greater than the master: Jesus is the master, but the hope is that when we’re fully trained, we can be like Him. We have to form our hearts after the heart of Jesus. We have to be like Him.


      Now something special in the Gospel (not the one today): Jesus says, “Learn from me because I am meek and humble of heart. If you learn from me to be meek and humble of heart, your hearts will find peace.” There’s a prayer for that too.


      And that’s really what the most important lesson is here. If we have a meek and humble heart, our speech is going to reflect that. We’re going to be positive. We’re going to be consoling. We’re going to be considerate. That’s what we want to strive to be.


      Think about this for a second (changing gears for a second). The update (brochure) for March is about Lent and what to do for Lent. Basically, in the Bible, “Seek the Lord” appears 85 times. That’s the most frequent three-word string, and that’s not including variations (ex. “Seek the face of the Lord”). That’s a very special theme.


      Now, who is the one who sought the face of the Lord? Students – hopefully you remember this story. Moses is the man the Lord appeared to in the burning bush, and Moses talked to God constantly. After they got to Mount Sinai, Moses went to the mountain and talked to God for 40 days and nights. Jesus went into the desert for 40 days and nights. Think of when Moses came down the first time with the 10 Commandments – the people were revolting. He threw down the 10 Commandments out of rage at what the people were doing. He had to go back up for another 40 days and nights to get another set of Commandments. 


      All this time, God is talking to Moses, and the skin on Moses’ face would glow because of this. In chapter 34 of Exodus, Moses says to God, “Lord, let me see your face.” GOd’s answer was, “My glory you can see, but my face you cannot see in this world.” We’re told 85 times to seek the face of the Lord, but Moses who was closest to Him could not see his face. Moses could not see His face, but he was allowed to walk to a little cleft where God would put his hand on Moses and pass by – Moses would be able to see God after he’s passed by. 


      That’s how we see God in this world: we see Him by his effect. We see Him in the friendly face, or in a moment of grace like at Mass, or in the beautiful sunrise. We see Him passing by. Don’t be disappointed that we can’t see God in this world. And yet, we’re told to keep seeking Him. The seeking is our job; that’s our destiny. That’s our goal for heaven. When we see God face-to-face, we will be happy.


      Psalm: “I shall know the fullness of joy when I see your face, Lord.” 


      Fr. may have said this before: there’s a reason we can’t see His face in this world. We’re programmed to want to see the good, and God is goodness itself. If we see God’s face, goodness itself, we’re going to be totally satisfied and we won’t want any other good thing. Food, sleep, play, nothing else but to see the face of God. All we’d want to do is die and see God. We can’t see Him, not because he’s frightening or we’ll turn to stone, but because the desire of our heart will be so completely satisfied that we won’t be able to seek anything else good. But this is what’s waiting in Heaven.


      He knows us completely: our hopes, fears, desires, dreams. When we see God, we will know Him like He knows us: completely. Right now we see God through reflections of Himself (ex. The stars, the ocean, the goodness of a person). But in Heaven? We’ll see God face to face.


      Prayer is the process of seeking the face of God. Getting to know Him is the process of becoming more and more like Him, getting ready to see HIm in heaven. 


      The Apostles were the only ones other than Jesus and Moses who got to see God. 


      We have to keep seeking the Lord – that’s our job during Lent. We have to ask, “How can I spend a little more time getting to know God?”

      Rosary – helps reflect on the life of Jesus

      Reading the Scriptures – they’re the wisdom of Jesus. You could get very familiar with the episodes. One of the most beautiful parables acc. to Fr.: the parable of the prodigal son. It’s really a parable about the father of the prodigal son.


      When praying, we could be seeking his help, his refuge; but especially we should seek just Him, like how Moses did. He wants us to desire and long for Him and His face every day of our life.


      We’re trying to make our hearts like his, because then from the fullness of our hearts, good things will come out in our speech and our actions.


      *Glory Be*


      Everyone: What called your attention the most from this teaching? → Note: I was highlighting so I missed a few.

      We don’t have to be perfect to help. Never hesitate to give help, but just make sure that it’s something you’re pretty good at. But you don’t have to be perfect.

      Analogy of the oxygen mask on the plane: have to help yourself before you help others.

      With human masters, like if you’re learning TKD, you might get as good as the master or even have better technique. Not when it comes to Jesus, the master of all masters. That’s why we seek Him and strive to be like Him – he’s perfect.


      Next meeting is likely going to be on March 20th. See everyone then!


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