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Splinters and Beams

July 20, 2014

Monday, June 23, 2014: Twelfth Monday of Ordinary Time

2 Kings 17:5-8, 13-15, 18.  In his great anger against Israel, the Lord put them away out of his sight.  Only the tribe of Judah was left.                           Matthew 7:1-5Remove the wooden beam from your eye first.

Gospel Reflection:

Praised be Jesus Christ! R. For evermore!

In today’s Gospel, Our Lord is wrapping up His sermon on the mount with some last thoughts; one being judging others.  Here, St. Matthew is not just talking about having an opinion; no, he is using the word describing one judging harshly, or delivering condemnation.  It is intended to call out the scribes and Pharisees who all too frequently are inclined to find fault and come across as harshly, and unreasonably critical.

Modern translation has us believing that someone who judges unfairly is to expect unfair and disproportioned judgment of God.  This is certainly not the case.  Harsh judgments will certainly be punished severely – but not unfairly.  So in a parable-sort-of way, Jesus is pointing out the tendency of a person to be overly critical and acutely aware of the faults of others – ‘the splinter’ – while being complacent about their own character – ‘the beam’.

My friend, John Pridmore, goes around the world evangelizing at-risk youth.  He had some pretty good advice recently.  First, we need to be in the proper perception, and understanding about filial love in our lives.  He writes, “Sin doesn’t hurt God as much as refusing to love your brother as yourself.” (Repeat) Sin doesn’t hurt God as much as refusing to love your brother as yourself.  No matter how we transgress or offend, we could do no worse by being disingenuous to our brother, our sister, our neighbor, and yes – our enemy.  Second, “Don’t compare yourself to others.  You don’t have to be the best – just do your best.”  (Repeat)  Don’t compare yourself to others.  You don’t have to be the best – just do your best.  Life is hard enough already without holding ourselves to an unreasonable – or unattainable – standard.  Eliminate judgment of others, and avoid the deadly, critical game of unfair comparison.  Lastly, “Don’t judge yourself.  Allow God to be the judge – he’s much more merciful than you.”  (Repeat)  Don’t judge yourself.  Allow God to be the judge – he’s much more merciful than you.

Allow God to be the judge – he’s much more merciful than you.

Frequently, I find myself remembering that I am my own worst critic.  This is the judging that we should seek to eliminate in our lives – and being successful at that will open ourselves up to accepting what the Lord meant by loving our neighbor as ourselves.  We have been created purely out of God’s generous love.  His intention is for us to happily spend eternity with Him.  Celebrate that.  Live like that.  Give yourself – and others – a break.

I keep this quote in my thoughts.  A lot of people have taken credit for it, but it goes like this: ‘Mercy is NOT receiving what you deserve.  Grace is receiving what you DO NOT deserve.’  Remember, ‘allow God to be the judge – he’s much more merciful than you.’  May we be merciful to ourselves by refraining from harsh judgment, and share the grace we gain with one another.

 

Amen,

Papa

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