Meditation for the Day

Monday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time, June 22

May We Always Praise Rather Than Criticize, Sympathize Rather Than Discourage, Build-up Rather Than Tear-down and Destroy, and Think of People at Their Best Rather Than at Their Worst.

“Israel sinned against the LORD, their God…they venerated other gods…[they] were as stiff-necked as their fathers…They rejected [God’s] statutes.”

This is what we just read in our First Reading today from the Second Book of Kings. Sometimes, it is so easy for us to sit back and pass moral judgment on people, especially when we think that we are right and they are wrong, or that we are so much better than they.

It becomes easy for us to say that the Israelites had so much going for them: the great miracles God performed in bringing them out of Egypt, the lawgiver Moses, King David, his son Solomon and all the prophets.

But we can never truly understand why someone or some people act the way they do unless, as the old adage states, “we have walked a mile in their shoes.” And only God can look into the heart and soul of a person, and truly know that person better than he or she knows him or herself.

Understanding others requires compassion; compassion requires love; love requires humility. And being a compassionate and loving person guides us into a right relationship with our God, and we would know that being judgmental of others is not pleasing to a God who is Love!

In our Gospel for today, Jesus is teaching us to look at our own faults first, rather than passing judgment on others. When we stand in judgment on the words or actions of others, it is normally from a perspective of personal arrogance, wherein we feel that we are better than someone else, or that their conduct is beneath us or is contemptible in our eyes.

This way of thinking is lacking in humility, which results in the absence of compassion and understanding. And what did our Lord say today? “For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you.”

And in Paul’s letter to the Romans, we find him teaching the Jewish people about their prideful sense of superiority over the Gentiles when he wrote, “Therefore, you are without excuse, every one of you who passes judgment. For by the standard by which you judge another you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the very same things.”

These words are NOT, however, a prohibition against recognizing the faults within someone who is committing a wrongful act! As an example, I remember a few years ago when a woman, who once worked for a daycare center for infants and young children, would relate to me her concerns about what she surmised to be abuse committed by the parents of a child for whom she was caring.

In this instance, she was not judging the character of the parents, but rather discerning a wrongful act against a defenseless child. She decided it was best to leave the judging to God and the authorities.

And in today’s world societies and cultures, we see riots and violence in many countries perpetrated by individuals who seem to have lost any real sense of a “fear of the Lord” in their lives. We can objectively discern, without being judgmental, that the path upon which they are traveling is far from peace and selfless love, a path which is far from God’s will for them in their daily lives.

And we can only humble ourselves and pray that they will open their hearts to the voice of the Good Shepherd, before their time should come to an end in this life.

In the 79th Psalm, we read, “Help us, O God our savior, on account of the glory of your name. Deliver us and pardon our sins for your name’s sake.” We can use this verse as our own personal prayer, reaching out to God to strengthen us, so that we may better live the virtue of charity within our hearts and upon our lips.

It is a prayer which can help us recognize within ourselves our own human frailties and shortcomings, so that we may become less judgmental of others and more charitable and understanding towards those whose thinking or behavior is different or foreign from our own.

Saint Faustina, the apostle of Divine Mercy, once wrote in her Diary on the subject of passing  judgment upon others, “I must never judge anyone, but look at others with leniency and at myself with severity. I must refer everything to God and, in my own eyes, recognize myself for what I am…”

And our Lord is teaching us today what we are. We are human beings – not without fault ourselves – and that we must tend to our own shortcomings first! In this way, we can more easily experience love and charity toward others.

“…remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.”

Let us pray that God may always help us to praise rather than criticize, to sympathize rather than discourage, to build-up rather than tear-down and destroy, and to think of people at their best rather than at their worst – and to pray for all those who have truly lost sight of the true wonders which await God’s faithful children.

In this way, we truly begin to emulate the love of Jesus Christ, Himself!

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Please Comment, Like and Share, and Suggest to your Facebook friends – to spread the message of God’s Merciful Love.

Por favor Comente, Le Gusta y Comparta, y Sugiera a tus amigos en Facebook – en difundir el mensaje del Misericordioso Amor de Dios.

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Scripture for the Day

  • “…the Israelites sinned against the LORD, their God…they venerated other gods…They grew as stiff-necked as their ancestors, who had not believed in the LORD, their God. They rejected his statutes.” (2 Kings 17:7ac, 14b-15a)
  • “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.” (Matthew 7:1-2)
  • “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother’s eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?” (Matthew 7:3)
  • “Therefore, you are without excuse, every one of you who passes judgment. For by the standard by which you judge another you condemn yourself, since you, the judge, do the very same things.” (Romans 2:1)
  • “By your stubbornness and impenitent heart, you are storing up wrath for yourself for the day of wrath and revelation of the just judgment of God, who will repay everyone according to his works.” (Romans 2:5-6)
  • “Do not grieve the holy Spirit of God, with which you were sealed for the day of redemption. All bitterness, fury, anger, shouting, and reviling must be removed from you, along with all malice. And be kind to one another, compassionate, forgiving one another as God has forgiven you in Christ.” (Ephesians 4:30-32)
  • “…remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5)
  • “Help us, O God our savior, on account of the glory of your name. Deliver us and pardon our sins for your name’s sake.” (Psalm 79:9)
  • “Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD, the people chosen as his inheritance…May your mercy, LORD, be upon us as we put our hope in you.” (Psalm 33:12, 22)

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Prayer for the Day

“Gracious and Loving God,
You call us to walk with Your Son, Jesus Christ,
in this our pilgrimage of faith.

“Help us to grow to become more like Him
in overcoming temptations to be self-centered,
to attend only to our own needs.

“Help us to recognize the dignity
of every human being, welcoming, accepting
and understanding others as Christ did,
never being judgmental or condescending.

“Help us to see the pain within others
and to respond with Christ’s compassion and mercy.
Unite us in our efforts to uphold the life and dignity
of all from conception to natural death.

“As we journey with Christ in our daily lives,
may we learn from Him the meaning of selfless love.
We ask this through Christ, our Lord. Amen.”

cf. Our Journey toward Selfless Love (Diocese of Tucson)

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