Friday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time

Brothers and sisters:
If I preach the Gospel, this is no reason for me to boast,
for an obligation has been imposed on me,
and woe to me if I do not preach it!
If I do so willingly, I have a recompense,
but if unwillingly, then I have been entrusted with a stewardship.
What then is my recompense?
That, when I preach, I offer the Gospel free of charge
so as not to make full use of my right in the Gospel.
Although I am free in regard to all,
I have made myself a slave to all
so as to win over as many as possible.
I have become all things to all, to save at least some.
All this I do for the sake of the Gospel,
so that I too may have a share in it.
Do you not know that the runners in the stadium all run in the race,
but only one wins the prize?
Run so as to win.
Every athlete exercises discipline in every way.
They do it to win a perishable crown,
but we an imperishable one.
Thus I do not run aimlessly;
I do not fight as if I were shadowboxing.
No, I drive my body and train it,
for fear that, after having preached to others,
I myself should be disqualified.

Gospel LK 6:39-42
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.”

Lectionary for Mass for Use in the Dioceses of the United States, second typical edition, Copyright © 2001, 1998, 1997, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine; Psalm refrain © 1968, 1981, 1997, International Committee on English in the Liturgy, Inc. All rights reserved. 
Take the Gospel to prayer:

When we hear today's Gospel text, it is easy for our mind to jump to someone in our lives who criticizes us and say "I know that person that this story is about". We can all recognize the people in our lives whom we deem to be our critics. We want to call them to account for their attitude.

But the real subject of the story isn't "the other guy". Today we must look at our own selves and see how foggy our view becomes when we engage with others who don't meet up with our own standards. We see their flaws and fail to look at our judgmental selves. We must past the judgement on our own shortcomings and work to overcome them before we can call others to task.

Lord, help me to curb my tongue when I am quick to criticize. Let me see the positive qualities of the people around me and learn from them.

On this Patriot Day, let us also join in prayer for the healing that must continue to be pursued, for victims and the families still suffering from the events of that day, and for the souls of those who lost their lives. May God have mercy on us.