Jesus said to his disciples:
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
“Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.
Forgive and you will be forgiven.
Give and gifts will be given to you;
a good measure, packed together, shaken down, and overflowing,
will be poured into your lap.
For the measure with which you measure
will in return be measured out to you.”
Listening to so much of the contemporary rhetoric, you would never know that Jesus pointed us towards non-judgment. That struck me, first of all because I have a pretty judgmental streak. Seriously – just ask anyone who lives with me. My husband and step-daughter would be rich sources of just how judgmental I can be.
What really hit me this morning as I read and prayed were these words – “stop condemning.”
After a weekend away from the internet, by and large (OK, I did post a photo from my phone, but that was about it!) I have to say I was grateful for the respite from all the arguing in the social media sphere. I don’t know about you, but I am sick, sick, sick to death of hearing about who is a good Catholic, who is a bad Catholic, who is cooperating with evil – as if most of us can really express appropriate Catholic moral theology, who is righteous, who is not righteous, who deserves Eucharist (by the way, the answer to that would be no one) and who does not and on and on and on. I want to yell – shaddup!
There you see – I am judging and condemning now, aren’t I? Yes, truth be told, yes I am.
In any case, as I re-read the Gospel, I find that Jesus’ words, are as always, well timed and pointed at every one of us. Jesus intones us to give. The only piece of real estate that I control here is my own heart . God calls me to give. GIVE. If all that I can give is judgement and condemnation, then I better step away from the table.
So maybe I better step away from the table?
Or not. It through and with each other that God brings us to redemption. As Catholics, it is a group deal – not individual salvation. So therefore I better just shaddup and get on with the work of Christ, the work of giving. This is all easier said than done.
Like watching TV with the remote in hand or surfing the internet wirelessly, my judgment and condemnation can be done from the comfort of my chair. You can say “That was easy!” – just like in the commercial. Except – well, it is not easy to do the right thing if you ask me. Even when I want to do the right thing, I so often choose poorly.
Actual giving has to do with how we are in the world – the real world. It has to do with the virtual world as well, in the sense that how we are on the internet should be a mirror of how we are in the world.
May this Lent give us all the grace needed to be givers in the world and not judges.