The ancient Romans had a saying that no man is an apt judge of himself. We have a legal system, courts, and judges because when we enter into disputes we look for somebody to judge our case with impartiality and objectivity, based on the facts. Even then we know that sometimes justice is not done despite all those efforts, which is why alongside those courts and judges there’s a system of appeals. Our Lord in today’s Gospel reminds us to be on guard against making rash judgments and meting out condemnation. In the Lord’s Prayer he tells us to pray to be forgiven as we have forgiven others. When we let ourselves be drawn into a logic of mutual recrimination and condemnation no one remains unscathed, because so often we too merit condemnation for having judged and condemned another unjustly.
Jesus invites us today to examine ourselves and acknowledge that we have a lot of faults and failings, and we should focus on fixing them before we think of focusing on the faults and failings of others. Our own efforts to be good and holy people will give us an extra dose of objectivity in evaluating others’ actions in order to help them, not just to condemn them. Rash judgments are easily fired off about others in a world of quick and globalized communications. To counter our tendency to judge others rashly, harshly, and quickly we need to be as ready to forgive others as we would hope that they would forgive us. Tempering our judgments with virtue and mercy is the key to not being drawn into a logic of condemnation. It’s the difference between being judgmental and practicing fraternal correction out of concern for the person who has erred.
Let’s pray today for the grace to not get sucked into the blame game and to have a fraternal attitude toward others, especially those whom we feel have offended us in some way.
Readings: Genesis 12:1–9; Psalm 33:12–13, 18–20, 22; Matthew 7:1–5.