“Seeking to purify our lives, rather than indulging in mud-slinging on others!”
(Based on 2 Kings 17:5-8 and Mt 7:1-5b – Monday of the 12th Week in Ordinary Time, Year 2)
A story is told of an elderly man who, during his evening walk, was surprised to see, a man hoeing his garden (=digging and loosening the mud)…
… while sitting in a chair!
“What laziness!” thought the elderly man.
But suddenly he saw, leaning against the chair…
… a pair of crutches.
The man was at work despite his handicap!
That made the elderly person to think to himself: “How true is the saying: Judge a tree from its fruit, not from its leaves!”
So often it happens that we place people on a trial – as in a court – and judged according to our standards and our human yardsticks….
… Perhaps, most of them would be been condemned and convicted.
But seldom have we realised that there could always be “another side to the story that I am seeing!”
The Gospel of the Day is a teaching on this tendency of human beings to judge – hastily and impulsively – which very often turns out to be rash and reckless
Jesus says, “Do not judge!” (Mt 7:1)
We need to clarify what does the word JUDGE mean…
The jury makes judgments.
Schools make judgments on students.
Companies make judgments on candidates in an interview or in cases of promotion/demotion.
All these may not constitute the judgment that Jesus means.
Judging, in the sense of Jesus, is condemning!
It is to have a negative and pessimistic attitude to human beings and condemning and rejecting them outright and absolutely!!
We could consider “Judge not” from three aspects:
- We are unworthy to pass a final judgment on any person or situation
We need to let God be God and as human beings, we need to know our limitations.
Not everything is known to us – therefore, leave the matters “which tempt us to judge” to the Mercy of God!
- We are not to judge the motives of other people
Human beings see only the external…
… God sees the heart of the person!
- We are not to be petty faultfinders:
We need to cease having a “microscopic vision”, in order to scan and scrutinize the faults and weaknesses of others.
In the light of today’s Gospel, we need to examine certain aspects of our life…
… maximize the sins and faults of others and minimize mine?
… come to quick, hasty and negative conclusions?
… pass critical stories to other?
… have a strong bias to find others guilty?
… be too harsh even when speaking the truth?
… dilute an unkind remark by saying, “I was only joking.”
… say something critical and then trying to cover it up?
Even after this examination, if there is a tendency to judge, then there is one person we can be critical of…
… our own selves!
Yes, let us be judging our actions, our behaviours, our thoughts…
…. and seek to purify our lives, rather than indulging in mud-slinging on others!
The Lord constantly reminds us: “Turn from your evil ways and keep my commandments and my statutes…
… in accordance with all the law which I commanded your fathers, and which I sent to you by my servants the prophets.” (2 Kings 17:13)
When we look into the lives of people…
… and feel to judge them
Let us consciously tell ourselves: There could always be “another side to the story that I am seeing!”
Yes… Judge a tree from its fruit, not from its leaves!
God Bless! Live Jesus!
Discovering the beauty of the Catholic Church through the Catechism
BAPTISM IN THE CHURCH
From the very day of Pentecost the Church has celebrated and administered holy Baptism.
Indeed St. Peter declares to the crowd astounded by his preaching: “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
The apostles and their collaborators offer Baptism to anyone who believed in Jesus: Jews, the God-fearing, pagans
Always, Baptism is seen as connected with faith: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household,” St. Paul declared to his jailer in Philippi; and the narrative continues, the jailer “was baptized at once, with all his family.”
According to the Apostle Paul, the believer enters through Baptism into communion with Christ’s death, is buried with him, and rises with Him: Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.
The baptized have “put on Christ.”
Through the Holy Spirit, Baptism is a bath that purifies, justifies, and sanctifies.
Hence Baptism is a bath of water in which the “imperishable seed” of the Word of God produces its life-giving effect.
St. Augustine says of Baptism: “The word is brought to the material element, and it becomes a sacrament. (CCC #12256-1228)