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WHAT RIGHT HAVE WE TO CRITICISE?

Father Francis's picture
Sixteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Mt. 13:24-43

How many of us to some degree are gossips and judgemental? The parable Our Lord tells us today is so relevant - and we have much to learn from it.

He tells the story about a farmer who planted wheat grain in his field, but when this begins to grow weeds appear. Someone who knows little about farming may be inclined to pull up the weeds to allow the wheat to grow. But the experienced farmer knows that doing this is likely to uproot the wheat as well, and so he allows them to grow side by side until harvest time. In this parable Jesus compares the church, the people of God, to a field of wheat and weeds!

Some good people ask why does God, Who is all wise and powerful, allow evil to flourish? But what right have any of us, who have within us a mixture of good and evil, to speak like that? From this story we learn that God displays endless tolerance and patience to us sinners. Through His Holy Spirit, He is constantly prompting the sinner to change his evil ways to be a better person. When these promptings are ignored He still waits patiently for the sinner to repent. We have to marvel at God’s tolerance and the respect He has for our free will!

He is giving us an example that we too must be like Him in showing patience and tolerance to fellow sinners. And because nobody but God is good and perfect, He is the only one Who has the right to judge and find fault with others. All of us are a mixture of good and evil. So we have no right to criticise and judge others. As has been rightly observed, when we point a finger accusing another of their faults there are on the same hand three more fingers pointing in our direction accusing us of our own faults.

We would all do well firstly to thank God for the good He has planted in our hearts and, secondly, to help us spend the time and energy we use in accusing others to concentrate on eradicating or at least gradually lessening the faults that blemish our lives.

When we go to Confession, which I hope is at least monthly, we would do well to concentrate in admitting how judgemental we can be concerning the sins of others.

If we are judgemental let us constantly during the day say a prayer like this … “Lord Jesus, help me not to find fault with others, but to be like You, tolerant and patient. When I am on the point of criticising another may I remember my own faults and concentrate on eradicating them - and help me to pray for the person I am about to criticise.”

And we can learn from our blessed mother Mary who was sinless. Many times she must have mingled with women when fetching water from the well or going to the shops, and there the faults of others may have been discussed, but Mary would have had the art of not getting involved in any gossip and would turn such talk into more charitable channels. We can ask our mother Mary to help us be like her.

Lord Jesus, we thank You today for teaching us, through the parable of the wheat and weeds, that no one but You is good and perfect. Like You we must be patient and tolerant with the faults of others. Help us to concentrate on lessening our sins and praying that we may be more like you.

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