, A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew 7: 1-5
Jesus said to his disciples: "Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, 'Let me remove that splinter from your eye,' while the wooden beam is in your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother's eye." The Gospel of the Lord Praise be to God.
REFLECTION: "Stop judging, that you may not be judged"
The faults of others are always so obvious to us and, yes, we do try to correct them, if not outwardly, in our inner thoughts and sometimes deeds. There is not one person who wants to be judged negatively, yet we let our own biases prejudge those who also have the same faults as we. And this, perhaps, is the reason we are harsher on people who remind us of ourselves. Because we know why we do things, we project our negativism to them.
I have to assume that all who frequent PAPA or share in the scripture reflections are good people. We dedicate our lives being good at our work, home, church and we work at growing virtuously and avoiding sin. We seek out good people to hang around with or churches that inspire and raise our hearts and petitions to our God who loves us.
But, suddenly we are hit with a difficult companion, friend, coworker, priest, spouse or cashier at the store and our beautiful virtuous life can come to a halt. Our best friend just said something that hurt us, our spouse is rude or maybe has asked for a divorce, our children forget our feelings and disinvite us to visit or cancel their visits. Friends seem to have lost interest in us and have developed new friendships.
So we try to figure out what happened--
We interject our feelings...-We judge their motives-
1. Maybe the friend is jealous and has set out to ruin you or embarrass you or
2. Maybe the coworker is undermining your efforts and is setting out to make you fail in your project.
3. If a person has an alcohol or drug problem, then they must have a character flaw.
4. If a person does not work, they must be just lazy.
But have we looked at ourselves and do we point the finger to ourselves when accusing others of wrong doing?
1. Do we verbally abuse our spouse?
2 Do we berate our coworker?
3. Do we tell lies?
4. Do we ignore people and use them as stepping stones to get from Point A to Point B?
5. Does the lazy person have a mental illness, do they suffer from lack of self esteem, do they live in a nonloving abusive family.?
6. Is addiction an illness that can affect all families?
If our beam in our eye prevents us from seeing forward, then basically we are the blind leading the blind as we don't know where we are going. Our negative emotions are triggered by people who many times mirror us. God shows us ourselves, especially the part of ourselves that is unacceptable, the parts we never stop to look at and the parts we deny a voice. These people, whom we are so quick to judge, are our teachers as they tell us more about ourselves. Hopefully we will learn from them. The Lord in the Garden of Eden looked for Eve and asked her "what is this that you have done" ?--He did not ask Eve, what is this that Adam has done?
Only God can offer us a vision that will sustain us no matter what comes our way or what others do or say to us. Our own faults require scrutiny. The faults of others require just a glance, but, unfortunately, we stare them down.
But do not mistake not judging others with knowing the difference between good and evil , morality and immorality. We should definitely speak up and loudly when we see evil and immoral acts--abortion, death penalty, poverty and abusive governments, to name a few.
PRAYER: Dear Lord, I give you permission to show me my flaws and to take them and work them out of my system. Amen.
Please pray for priests.