Eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)
February 27, 2022
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.








Grant us, O Lord, we pray,
that the course of our world
may be directed by your peaceful rule
and that your Church may rejoice,
untroubled in her devotion.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.

First Reading Sir 27:4-7

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.

Responsorial Psalm 92:2-3,13-14,15-16

R/. Lord, it is good to give thanks to you.

It is good to give thanks to the LORD,
to sing praise to your name, Most High,
To proclaim your kindness at dawn
and your faithfulness throughout the night.

The just one shall flourish like the palm tree,
like a cedar of Lebanon shall he grow.
They that are planted in the house of the LORD
shall flourish in the courts of our God.

They shall bear fruit even in old age;
vigorous and sturdy shall they be,
Declaring how just is the LORD,
my rock, in whom there is no wrong.

Second Reading 1 Cor 15:54-58

Brothers and sisters:
When this which is corruptible clothes itself with incorruptibility
and this which is mortal clothes itself with immortality,
then the word that is written shall come about:
 Death is swallowed up in victory.
Where, O death, is your victory?
Where, O death, is your sting?

The sting of death is sin,
and the power of sin is the law.
But thanks be to God who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters,
be firm, steadfast, always fully devoted to the work of the Lord,
knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

Alleluia Phil 2:15d,16a

Gospel Lk 6:39-45

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."

Reflection Questions

  1. Are you aware of any “speech defects” that you would rather not disclose “the bent of your mind?”
  2. How are you “always fully devoted to the work of the Lord?”
  3. How are you, as a disciple, like your Teacher?

Catena Nova

To judge sins is the business of one who is sinless, but who is sinless except God? Who ever thinks about the multitude of his own sins in his heart never wants to make the sins of others a topic of conversation. To judge a man who has gone astray is a sign of pride, and God resists the proud. On the other hand, one who every hour prepares himself to give answer for his own sins will not quickly lift up his head to examine the mistakes of others. (St. Gennadius of Constantinople)

Nothing is more serious, nothing more difficult to deal with, as I say repeatedly, than judging and despising our neighbor. Why do we not rather judge ourselves and our own wickedness which we know so accurately and about which we have to render an account to God? Why do we usurp God’s right to judge? (St. Dorotheus of Gaza)

Judge yourself and beware of passing judgement on others. In judging others we expend our energy to no purpose; we are often mistaken and easily sin. But if we judge ourselves our labour is always to our profit. (Thomas à Kempis)

No greater pride is there than judging others, nor is there anything for which God abandons us more than for judging others. Everywhere in the Scriptures God tells us clearly not to judge others, but rather ourselves…Take this thought for a conclusion: the beginning of the ruin of the spiritual life is judging others. (St. Anthony Zaccaria)

The sharper you are at noticing other people’s failings, the more apt will you be to overlook your own. (St. Ignatius of Loyola)

Surely if God’s goodness is so great that in one instant we can obtain pardon and grace, how can we tell that the person who was a sinner yesterday is the same today? Yesterday must not judge today, nor today yesterday; it is the last day that will give the final verdict. (St. Francis de Sales)

Be compassionate. When you spot faults in others, show courteous sympathy. It is both a test and a proof of your love that you can observe such faults without experiencing shock. Others will have an opportunity to bear with your faults, many of which you may not recognize yourself. Pray for anyone who has a vice and try to practice its opposite virtue. Your actions will teach others far better than your words and suffering. Look for good in others. Don’t forget this. One person’s love can help others. If you become angry and speak hastily, correct yourself immediately and pray resolutely. This also applies to grudges you may have or your desire to be the greatest…. Cry out to Christ and correct yourself. (St. Teresa of Avila)


Near-Life Experiences

            People’s faults appear when they speak (cf. I).  I don’t care too much for that line from the Book of Sirach.  Especially when giving a homily.  So let me turn to the second reading instead, to Paul’s mockery of death, his baiting the one thing many of us fear the most, if we think about it at all: Where, O death, is your victory? Where, o death, is your sting (II).  That is one of the most famous passages of the New Testament from the 15th Chapter of First Corinthians from which we have been reading for four weeks running.  It contains St. Paul’s most extensive teaching on resurrection -- both Christ’s and our own – and merits to be read in its entirety.   

            Now despite our faith in a life that transcends death – without which Paul said two weeks ago our faith is vain and we are the most pitiable people of all -- we Christians are part of a culture that does everything possible to deny the reality of death.  We want the funeral industry to help us pretend nothing much has happened to a body that has died.  We leave others to worry about things we should take care of ourselves, like a health care proxy, advance directives, or a will.  And of course we often wait until loved ones lose consciousness before calling a priest to administer the last sacraments, or worse, until after they’ve died.  Yet even the pagan philosopher Plato knew better who, when asked to summarize his life’s work, replied: “A true philosopher practices death as if at every moment life were behind him”

            Of course, the saints also knew how to practice dying.  Take St. Therese of Lisieux-- the “Little Flower”— whom we know as a model of childlike trust in God.  She knew from a tender age she would die young: “Going away,” as she put it, “from this sad and dark country....[to] another land [that] would one day serve as a permanent dwelling place.”  But then came a bitter trial as the time of her departure approached.  She describes how the “the thought of heaven” turned into “the thickest darkness, how what “until then [was] so sweet to [her], [was] no longer anything but the cause of struggle and torment.”

            Therese traveled a long time through this “dark tunnel,” the fog becoming more and more dense, until everything disap­peared. She was tempted against faith itself, hearing inside her these words of doubt: “You are dreaming about the light, about a fatherland embalmed in the sweetest perfumes; you are dreaming about the eternal possession of the Creator of all these marvels; you believe that one day you will walk out of this fog which surrounds you!  Advance, advance; rejoice in death which will give you not what you hope for but a night still more profound, the night of nothingness.” (Story of a Soul, Ch. 10)  So even the greatest saints struggled, to the brink of despair, with death: they “let go” in peace only after battling with human nature’s fear at leaving this world behind, our instinct to protect ourselves from death’s sting at all costs.  

            I have recently begun listening to first-person accounts of “near-death experiences.”  (YouTube is great for letting you know what interests you). After a while, some similarities begin to emerge in what people report: like leaving the body and seeing what was happening to them from above, so to speak; the appearance of a bright light; an overwhelming sense of being loved unconditionally; a life review’ encounters with deceased relatives or other spiritual beings; a greatly expanded consciousness; and, of course, a message that this was not their time to die and they needed to return, however reluctantly, to finish some purpose in life.  What strikes me most, however, is the almost universal struggle people have in trying to describe the experience.  Language is utterly limited.

            And St. Paul would agree.  Elsewhere in his letters to the church at Corinth, he writes  “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” — the things God has prepared for those who love him (1 Cor 2:9).  His own account of an encounter with “the third heaven” likewise left him speechless:  I know that this man—whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, but God knows—was caught up to paradise and heard inexpressible things, things that no one is permitted to tell (2 Cor 12:2b).  Therefore he reminds us “now we see in a mirror, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know fully even as also I was fully known (1 Cor 13:12).  And nothing is more difficult to express, than the Christian hope that death’s sting is taken away not only from the soul, but the body as well.  Such that we are people who believe this [body] which is corruptible will clothe itself with incorruptibility and this [body] which is mortal will clothe itself with immortality (II).

            Which makes me think it might be better to say what some people report are “near-life experiences.” A disembodied soul is not the last word when it comes to eternal life.  Nor is death in the full sense of the word something we come back from short of resurrection.  That, if anything, is what Christ’s own resurrection teaches us. 

            And I also think all of us have “near-life experiences” each time we encounter the Body of the risen Lord in the Eucharist.  For as today’s Prayer after Communion reminds us, “By this Sacrament with which the Lord feeds us in the present age, we are made [already] partakers of life eternal.”  Thanks be to God who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (II).  Who lives and reigns, forever and ever.  Amen.  



Intercessions (Archdiocese of Adelaide)

To God, the source of all life, in this present age and in the age to come, we pray in faith.

For all who are one in Christ, that they will speak with integrity, and reveal goodness to others.

For peace in our world, that the tensions between Ukraine and Russia will ease so that diplomacy will draw people into dialogue.

That those who endure persecution for their faith, especially in China, Vietnam, Pakistan, Nigeria, Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, may find in the promise of eternal life a source of constant hope.

For honesty among all politicians, that they may have a spirit of service which works for the common good and the welfare of those struggling in life.

For those who consider themselves better than others, that they may reflect upon their own way of acting, speaking and thinking, and not pass judgement on other people.

For the sick and frail aged, that in all their needs they will be helped by caring health professionals, compassionate families, and loyal friends

For all who have died alone or in fear, that they may share the victory of our Lord, Jesus Christ.                      

O God, our teacher and judge,
hear our prayer
as we gather at the table of your word.
Enrich our hearts with the goodness of your wisdom
and renew us from within,
that all our actions, all our words,
may bear the fruit of your transforming grace.
We make our prayer through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God for ever and ever. Amen. (ICEL; 1998)

Interlude (John Michael Talbot)

Enter the narrow gate
A gate that leads to life
Heals your disease
And His burden isn't light

Enter the narrow gate
A gate that leads to life
Heals your disease
And His burden is light

Pray for your enemy
Those who abuse you
Love them and do not hate
And love will follow you

Enter the narrow gate
A gate that leads to life
Heals your diesease
And His burden is light

Enter the narrow gate
A gate that leads to life
Heals you disease
And His burden is light

Forgive those who offend
And seek their forgiveness
And when you bring your gift
You will be forgiven

Enter the narrow gate
A gate that leads to life
Heals your disease
And His burden is light

Enter the narrow gate
A gate that leads to life
Heals your disease
And His burden is light

(Spiritual Communion)

After the Lord’s Prayer, welcome Christ the Teacher into your heart and ask for the light to see yourself clearly even as you are seen by him.  Replenish the storehouse of your heart with the good fruit of compassion toward others, even when they offend you.

Thanksgiving (Ps 13; David R. Erb)


How long, O Lord? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me? How long shall I take counsel in my soul, Having sorrow in my heart daily? How long will my enemy be exalted over me? Consider and hear me, O Lord my  God; Enlighten my eyes, Lest I sleep the sleep of death, Lest my enemy say, “I have prevailed against him”; Lest those who trouble me rejoice when I am moved. But I have trusted in your mercy; My heart shall rejoice in your salvation. I will sing to the Lord, Because he has dealt bountifully with me.

Closing Hymn



Abide with me; fast falls the eventide;
The darkness deepens; Lord, with me abide;
When other helpers fail and comforts flee,
Help of the helpless, oh, abide with me.


Swift to its close ebbs out life’s little day;
Earth’s joys grow dim, its glories pass away;
Change and decay in all around I see—
O Thou who changest not, abide with me.


I need Thy presence every passing hour;
What but Thy grace can foil the tempter’s pow’r?
Who, like Thyself, my guide and stay can be?
Through cloud and sunshine, Lord, abide with me.


I fear no foe, with Thee at hand to bless;
Ills have no weight, and tears no bitterness;
Where is death’s sting? Where, grave, thy victory?
I triumph still, if Thou abide with me.


Hold Thou Thy cross before my closing eyes;
Shine through the gloom and point me to the skies;
Heav’n’s morning breaks, and earth’s vain shadows flee;
In life, in death, O Lord, abide with me.