Today’s Gospel: Luke 6:36-38
I opened up today’s Gospel, read, “Stop judging”, and immediately, broke out into laughter.
Thanks, God. This is good. You know me so well.
I cannot walk the dog by my neighbor’s house without coming back inside with a litany of complaints about the way they park their car, the way they keep the yard, the way they raise their children, the way they left the ketchup bottle on the hood of their truck for days.
I cannot go to a friend’s house without leaving and thinking, “Their home is enormous! They have so much! Good grief, how much money do they have? And why have I been given so little in comparison?”
I have looked at what other women are wearing, how thin they are, and how they style their hair, and come up with my own impression of the kind of person they must be, even when I have never spoken a single word to them.
I have turned my head away, in attempt to not make eye contact, with the woman who is strange, smoking her cigarette at 8 in the morning.
And while I recite daily, “Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us,” why is it I have gone to bed at night without kissing my husband, giving him my back, holding onto that grudge?
And the thing is, I know what I need to do to stay close to God. I know what He asks of me; he spells it out pretty clearly. And I can honestly say that remaining in Christ is what I truly want above all things. And still, I choose to judge. Still, I too easily choose to condemn. Still, I choose to fail to forgive, as I hope and pray to be forgiven.
What’s wrong with me?
Truth is, I cannot possibly see with the eyes of Christ, when I take out my yardstick, and measure everyone up; when I try to measure my sin against another’s, my worth against my friend’s, my holiness against my neighbor’s. And the sad reality is that the more I do the measuring, the less I am given in return. The more I appoint myself judge, the harsher I will be judged in return. When the one thing I desire more than anything (and truly am in desperate need of) is God’s unlimited forgiveness, wouldn’t you think it would be easy for me to forgive others endlessly?
Today’s Gospel is both gift and reminder, and I might benefit from re-reading it over and over again, and tattooing it on my face, so that every time I look in the mirror, there is no way I can hide from this sin. I do not want my reflection to be the image of a person who is only capable of feeling good about herself by putting others down; who can only feel large by making others small; who desires to measure and size up and point a finger because standing on the outside and casting the stone is the only way I know how to prove how holy I am. Only God measures, and he promises us that when we choose to give and forgive and allow ourselves to be small, he will not only give back a fair return, but he will give generously, in abundance “shaken down, and over flowing, will be poured into your lap.”
And I want that.
There is no way to measure the cross. It is time to put the yardstick down, fall on our knees, and pray for God’s mercy. Not once a week on Sunday, but every single second of every single day. At least that is what I, a miserable sinner, need to do.
Am I merciful to others the way the Father is merciful to me?
Jesus, my Savior, I am sorry for offending you. Please deliver me from the need to judge and condemn others, and grant me a forgiving heart; a heart that loves like yours, a heart that is so generous, it over flows, and pours onto the laps of every person I encounter. Amen.
We thank our friends at The Word Among Us for providing our gospel reflection team with copies of Abide In My Word 2015: Mass Readings at Your Fingertips. To pray the daily gospels with this wonderful resource, visit The Word Among Us.