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JUDGE NOT AND YOU WILL NOT BE JUDGED

Father Francis's picture
Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

Gen. 12:1-9 & Mt. 7:1-5

How would you feel if you were asked to leave your home, uproot yourself from your own country and set out on a journey to an unknown destination? You might feel excited at facing a new challenge, or you might be very afraid of the future. I'm sure Abraham felt some apprehension when God told him it was time to move on but he had such faith in God's promises that he was prepared to do as he was told.

God chose Abraham and set him apart for a special purpose: he was to keep the faith and hand it on to his people which was then handed down from one generation to the next. They were God's chosen people for it was to the descendants of Abraham that God would reveal His Son, the Messiah; sadly, it was the chosen people who rejected Him, so God now turned to the Gentile world and offered salvation to them. Those who accepted became the chosen people of God and we can refer to Abraham as "our father in faith" because we are his spiritual descendants. Having received the gift of faith we must put our trust in God's plan for us, as Abraham did, knowing that we will receive His blessings and the promise of eternal life.

Like Abraham we must treasure the gift of faith and hand it on to the next generation. But unlike Abraham and his people we do not keep this treasure exclusively to ourselves but share it with others. May we be aware of our responsibility of drawing people to the Lord and so building up God's kingdom on this Earth.

When Jesus tells us not to judge, is He saying that only God is in a position to judge? If that were the case the world would be a place of chaos. We have to judge people all the time, and for good reason. Parents judge the behaviour of their children or they would rear a generation of savages. Teachers judge the ability of their pupils so that they can help them to make the most of their education. Judges and magistrates have to judge the behaviour of those brought to trial or we would live in a jungle of dishonesty and violence. The only way human life is possible is if we make judgements about human behaviour.

So when Jesus tells us not to judge, what does He mean? He is saying, 'Don't set yourself up as a judge of others in spiritual matters because you don't know all the facts. Only God knows the whole story.' We can judge only what we see but often we will know nothing of the motives or pressures behind people's actions. It was Saint James who said there will no judgement for the man who does not pass judgement on others.

Lord Jesus let us learn to be more critical about ourselves than others. There is always room for improvement in our lives. It has been said that for every finger we point at others three are being pointed at ourselves.

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