JUDGE YOURSELF BEFORE YOU JUDGE OTHERS
Biblical reflection on the ‘Gospel’ in the Holy Mass of Friday, September 10, 2010.
He also told them a parable: “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A disciple is not above his teacher, but every one when he is fully taught will be like his teacher. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,’ when you yourself do not see the log that is in your eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother’s eye (Lk 6:39-42 RSV).
God put in each of us the desire to seek happiness. True happiness comes from God alone, yet many people try to attain it by other means. As in every age, philosophies and theories abound promising peace, joy, and prosperity to all who study and follow them. Yet, in the final analysis, even the “gurus” of these systems need salvation from sin and death. As St. Augustine of Hippo said: “Our hearts are restless until they rest in You.”
In the parable about the blind leading the blind, Jesus pointed out our need to seek Him as the ultimate teacher. We are like that blind man, and only Jesus can show us the way to salvation. He is the light of the world (Jn 8:12; 9:5) who guides us to the Kingdom of God. He can see right to the depth of our human condition because He was a man, tempted in every way we are, but never sinning (Heb 4:15). Knowing our great struggle, He has compassion on us and points out our sins and weaknesses not to condemn us, but so that we would ask him to forgive us and set us free.
Luke continued with one of Jesus’ primary teachings: Judge yourself before you judge others (see Lk 6:42). This is really difficult for us to do. Yet, to be like our Teacher, we must be full of compassion and forgiveness. Instead of finding fault with others, we should first consider our own condition. As sinners forgiven by the cross of Christ, we are not called to condemn, but to save. Even if we have been hurt by others, even if our judgments are based on truth, if we are without love, we still have “nothing” (see 1Cor 13:2).
Let us begin to observe and consider our own actions in prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to show us habits and attitudes that need healing. As we receive His grace and mercy, we will be humbled before God, and we will be moved to show love and compassion rather than judgment. More than anything else, this is what it means to become like our Master.
Short prayer: We praise You Lord Jesus Christ, for loving me unconditionally, showing me my sins, and assuring me of Your forgiveness. May I love as You love, and forgive as You forgive. Lord, make me like You. Amen.
Jakarta, September 8, 2010 [Feast of the Birth of the Blessed Virgin Mary]
A Christian Pilgrim