DAILY GOSPEL COMMENTARY: “Stop judging”
Gospel of Monday
12th week in Ordinary Time
Jesus said to his disciples: “Stop judging, that you may not be judged. For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you. Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.”
Gospel Commentary from the Navarre Bible, Commentary to the Gospel of St. Matthew (with permission)
1 Jesus said to his disciples: “Stop judging, that you may not be judged.
- Jesus is condemning any rash judgments we make maliciously or carelessly about our brothers’ behaviour or feelings or motives. “Think badly and you will not be far wrong” is completely at odds with Jesus’ teaching.
- In speaking of Christian charity St Paul lists its main features: “Love is patient and kind … Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Cor 13:4, 5, 7). Therefore, “Never think badly of anyone, not even if the words or conduct of the person in question give you good grounds for doing so” (St. Josemaria, The Way, 442).
- “Let us be slow to judge. — Each one sees things from his own point of view, as his mind, with all its limitations, tells him, and through eyes that are often dimmed and clouded by passion” (ibid., 451).
1-2 idem + For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.
- As elsewhere, the verbs in the passive voice (“you will be judged”, “the measure you will be given”) have God as their subject, even though he is not explicitly mentioned:
- “Do not judge others, that you be not judged by God”. Clearly the judgment referred to here is always a condemnatory judgment; therefore, if we do not want to be condemned by God, we should never condemn our neighbour. “God measures out according as we measure out and forgives as we forgive, and come to our rescue with the same tenderness as he sees us having towards others” (Fray Luis de León, Exposición del libro de Job, chap. 29).
3-5 Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove that splinter from your eye,’ while the wooden beam is in your eye? You hypocrite, remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.”
- A person whose sight is distorted sees things as deformed, even though in fact they are not deformed. St Augustine gives this advice: “Try to acquire those virtues which you think your brothers lack, and you will no longer see their defects, because you will not have them yourselves” (Enarrationes in Psalmos, 30, 2, 7). In this connexion, the saying “A thief thinks that everyone else is a thief” is in line with this teaching of Jesus.
- Besides: “To criticize, to destroy, is not difficult; any unskilled labourer knows how to drive his pick into the noble and finely-hewn stone of a cathedral. “To construct: that is what requires the skill of a master” (St. Josemaria,, The Way, 456).
VIDEO COMMENTARY ON TODAY’S GOSPEL
TOPIC: DO YOU MAKE HASTY JUDGMENTS AND CONDEMN OTHERS IMMEDIATELY?
In today’s gospel reading, Jesus sends out a very compelling message: “Do not judge others, so that God will not judge you, for God will judge you in the same way you judge others, and he will apply to you the same rules you apply to others”. (Matthew 7:1-2).
TOPIC: How often do you judge others?
Today’s gospel talks to us of a very common weakness we have – judging others.
There was this rude owner of a medium sized grocery store who looked down on his employees. He always thought that because his workers have not finished school, they are inferior to him.
One day, he heard one of his salesmen say to a customer, “No, ma’am, we haven’t had any for some weeks now and it doesn’t look as if we’ll be getting any soon.” Horrified at what he was hearing, THE OWNER rushed over to the customer as she was walking out and said, “That isn’t true, ma’am. Of course, we’ll have some soon. In fact, we placed an order for it a couple of weeks ago.” Then he drew the salesman aside and growled, “Never, never, never, say we don’t have something. If we don’t have it, say ‘we’ve ordered it and it’s on its way. Now what was it she wanted?” “Rain,” said the salesman.
Oftentimes, we think that we are better than most people. We are only good in our own eyes. If we are to gauge ourselves from the standards of God, we will surely fail because he will tell us that if we judge others, we lower our own worth in His eyes.
We must remember that if there is anything that Jesus was intolerant about, it was a hypocrite. He praised Zacchaeus who paid back what he stole from the people; He made Matthew, a hated tax collector, His disciple; He even forgave the repentant thief in His dying moment on the cross. But for those who were hypocrites, he detested them and spoke out against them. He described the Pharisees and scribes as “religious men before people, but…full of hypocrisy and wickedness within.” (Matthew 23:27-28)
When we catch ourselves in a situation where we are about to judge someone, let us hold ourselves back and say first a prayer – “Lord, keep me from judging and let me understand first what the situation of the other person is and look at myself as also unclean, imperfect and desiring not to be judged by others.”
Before we judge others, we must look at ourselves and declare if we are a sinner or not. If we admit we are sinners, then we do not have a right to judge others.
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