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WE ARE BEING WARNED AND WE MUST NOT JUDGE

Father Francis's picture
Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

2 Kings 17:5-8, 13-15, 18 & Mt. 7:1-5

A tragedy which had been brewing for many years is the subject of today's first reading. It was the destruction of the northern kingdom, Israel, and its capital Samaria in 721 BC, by the mighty Assyrian armies. The conquered people were deported in disgrace and the northern kingdom was never the same again. The disaster was of their own making because of their infidelity to God despite the repeated warning of the prophets.

The biblical accounts of infidelity are preserved for us as a warning against complacency. Some of the Old Testament people thought all would be well, no matter what response they made to God, since they were the chosen ones. They failed to realize that God's choice of them demanded a response to love Him by keeping His commandments.

Neither must we naively think that all will be well with us simply because we are Catholics. Yes, we are a privileged people. We have been given the gift of faith, but more is expected of us because of that. If we do not do our part in spreading the kingdom of God we have to answer to God for that one day.

In the Gospel Jesus tells us not to judge others. This is because we do not know all the facts which only God knows. We judge only by appearances, by what we can see. We don't know the pressure people are under, what drives them to act as they do.

There is a story told of a man who loved gardening. Each evening instead of watching television or reading a book, he would sit in his front room and just feast his eyes on his flowers, shrubs and hedges. One day he noticed a man across the road reeling from side to side who then knocked open his gate to walk across his beautiful garden. He jumped from his chair, charged down the path and was about to give the man the greatest shaking of his life – when he realised that he was completely blind. I'm glad to say that instead of reprimanding him he put his arm round him and invited him into his home for a cup of tea.

When we judge we are just like that man who did not know all the facts as God does. How wise Jesus was to tell us not to judge. And in fact Saint James says that there will be no judgement for the person who does not pass judgement on others.

Lord Jesus, each one of us is not perfect, because we all have our faults. Let us learn to be more critical of ourselves than others. There is always room for improvement in our lives. Help us each day to become more like the person You want us to be.

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