Whom do we follow? Think about that. Whom do most people follow? The famous? The wealthy, those whose name and images are most frequently seen and heard? I think that most people have a very sensitive antenna which detects social trends, the direction where the majority is moving. That is their guide.
But who are these people at the head of the crowd, and why should we follow them? Can the blind lead the blind?
What we want is the truth. The truth about what it means to be a healthy human being, the truth about sex and authentic friendship, the truth about marriage and family, the truth about values that endure, values that deepen us as persons of character.
Today many secular universities hold that there is no abiding truth, no universal principles that have universal application and are timeless. Instead, they insist, with firm conviction, that there is only your truth and my truth, or the perceptions that seem to work best for these times, but will be unworkable for another time. Is that the best we can hope for? Can the blind lead the blind?
If there are no truths to be learned, then why have schools? And why pay tuition to listen to someone with an academic degree, and why have exams? Can the unconvinced, and uncertain, lead the blind?
Jesus teaches us that the disciple is not greater than the teacher. Rather, the teacher has something that students want, and need. A good student is open to the truth. He or she absorbs it like a sponge. With time and sufficient maturation, the student will become like his teacher, and perhaps even surpass him. This is not the blind leading the blind.
Jesus gives us one serious precaution: do not expect other people to be perfect. Only God is perfect, and that is because He is God. The rest of us are frail and vulnerable human beings. We all have imperfections and flaws. We are all trying to grow into the many and various virtues that perfect us as human beings. We are a work in progress, and we have not reached the higher levels of perfection. We are all aspiring to become Saints, patterned upon the proto-model that is Jesus, the God-man.
Thus, we don’t become hypercritical of others for not measuring up completely to our expectations. We don’t want them to be hypercritical of us, with our flaws and inadequacies, which we can justify so well. Rather, we encourage one another to keep moving in the direction of goodness and greater goodness, of life and greater life.
Jesus teaches: “Remove first the log from your eye, and then you will see clearly how to remove the spec from your brother’s eye.
Whom do we follow? Who is our most reliable guide? It is Jesus, the creative Logos, truth personified. We follow our fellow human beings insofar as they have found, and interiorized, something of the goodness, the beauty and the truth of Jesus.