But here's the tough part. It is easy to see the hypocrisy in others. Seeing our own blind spots is much more difficult. Our eyes look outward, not inward. How do we invert our eyes so that we can see our own souls as Christ sees them?
All humanity is subject to the truth of the parable in today's gospel. Jesus tells of the farmer who sows good seed in the field, goes to sleep, and wakes up to find that an enemy has sown weeds among the good seed. The servants ask the farmer if they should pull up the weeds, but he tells them not to, because they may destroy the wheat in so doing. He promises that at the harvest he will have the harvesters separate the weeds and burn them, and then gather in the wheat.
for the courts of the LORD.
My heart and my flesh
cry out for the living God.
Blessed they who dwell in your house!
continually they praise you.
Blessed the men whose strength you are!
They go from strength to strength.
I had rather one day in your courts
than a thousand elsewhere;
I had rather lie at the threshold of the house of my God
than dwell in the tents of the wicked.
It is so difficult to see inwardly. God our Father loves us with all his heart, in all his truth and justice. In truth, none of us is satisfied with love that is blind to our weaknesses. That is a perilous love, sure to be shattered when it awakens from its dullness and sees us for what we are.
Neither do any of us truly want a "love" that justifies our injustice, that coddles our selfishness. Because we know in our deepest beings that this is not love. A "love" that tolerates selfishness and injustice is no love at all, but a temporary alliance, like a "den of thieves." It exists so long as our selfishness and injustice are directed elsewhere. We know in our hearts that in the end our selfishness and injustice will turn on our den-mates, and theirs on us. And that is the day they will not be our "friends" any longer.
The Lord gives us a place we can go and see ourselves for what we are, without dying of shame. It is a place where we are loved unconditionally, but not blindly, given true hope, not false pride, and given strength to change, not rationalizations for our sins. It is the place where the weeds get disentangled from the wheat.
That is why the Lord lived and died for us. That is why he instituted the Eucharist, appointed the Apostles, gave us Confession, and gave us the Holy Scriptures. He gives us the means to change, to gently pull out the weeds and to nurture the wheat in our lives.
I tell you to go to Church because I love you.