Judge Who??? ~ The Very Rev. Lady Sherwood, OPI

Reading I: Sir 27:4-7

Responsorial Psalm: Ps 92:2-3, 13-14, 15-16

Reading II: 1 Cor 15:54-58

Alleluia: Phil 2:15d, 16a

Gospel: Lk 6:39-45

My dearest brothers and sisters in Christ:

First, let’s take a look at our Gospel reading for Today of  Lk 6:39-45 (NIV):

39 He also told them this parable: “Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into a pit? 40 The student is not above the teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like their teacher.

41 “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 42 How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

A Tree and Its Fruit

43 “No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers. 45 A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of.

So what is this telling us and what can we learn from the Lord’s teaching of the Gospel today?

Each and every one of us at some point in our lives become prone to excuse our own faults and magnify the faults of others and to put our judgement upon them. You know how it goes: It could be things such as: “I’m quiet, you’re unassertive; he’s a wimp.” “I’m concerned; you’re curious; he or she is nosy.” “I’m thrifty; you’re a bit tight; that person is cheap.” “I drive with the flow of traffic; you go over the speed limit; that person is very reckless.”

Jesus knows  our common propensity to justify ourselves and to blame others. As He concluded the section of His sermon dealing with the requirement of loving even our enemies, He knew that we would try to dodge its demands by judging our enemies and by  excusing ourselves. So He gives a strong corrective by showing how we should focus on showing mercy, not judgement, even toward those who have wronged us (6:36-38). Then, to help us apply it, Jesus goes on to show that we must focus on judging our own sins or we will be like the blind  trying to lead the blind (6:39-40). Only when we have judged our own sins can we then see clearly to help another person with their sins (6:41-42). In fact, we must judge ourselves down to the heart level, because only a good heart can produce good fruit (6:42-43). Thus Jesus is teaching us that …

To love as we ought to be doing, we should focus on showing mercy toward others but (also) on judging our own sins.

Let us pray:

Almighty God,  sometimes we struggle with anger and with judgement. We see things and want to get revenge or we wish others to be punished for wrongdoing. We pray that you fill our hearts with compassion and forgiveness. Help us  not to condemn but seek first to forgive others. Help us not to judge, but to serve. Amen.