In some of the earlier episodes of Doctor Who, the Doctor introduces the concept of a perception filter. Perception filters had the effect of directing attention away from an object or its bearer, rendering them unnoticeable. Martha Jones (one of the series characters) described what it was like to look at an object with a perception filter: “You know it’s there, but you don’t want to know it’s there”.
We, too, have a great capacity to deceive ourselves when it comes to seeing our own patterns of sin. We tend to keep ourselves busy or keep away from anything that might challenge us too much. We apply our own perception filter, firmly ignoring our areas of sin.
Lent is a time when we are asked to look carefully at our own behaviour. The Holy Spirit acts to remove the perception filter and we are able to see the attitudes of our hearts that God wants to bring freedom to. We are invited to see clearly and to repent. We can sometimes get discouraged when this happens and feel that we are going backwards; but we are just becoming aware of something that has been there all the time!
Jesus’ challenge to his followers in today’s gospel is about having integrity, and being honest with ourselves, and not propping up my poor self-esteem by pretending that I am more important than others. Do any of these challenges ring true for you?