DO NOT JUDGE
The Northern kingdom of Israel is punished for deserting God through destruction of the country and its people’s exile.
For people who walk side-by-side with the Lord, there is no room for superiority complexes that look down on the people around us to condemn them. We have all the same calling in Christ. Do we not often judge and condemn in others that which, consciously or unconsciously, we condemn in ourselves? At times we even secretly rejoice that our brother or sister suffers from the same shortcoming to a greater extent than we do. If we apply the law to others, God will measure us with the same severity of the law. Let us look into ourselves and remove the beam from our own eyes before we discover the splinter in the eyes of others.
Lord our God,
we are people who have not yet seen
what you have prepared for us,
yet, who have to take you on your word
and to walk forward in faith and hope.
Give us faith, Lord, a deep faith
that asks for no other certainty
than that you know where you lead us
and that all is well and secure
because you are our God and Father
who loves us for ever and ever.
1 Reading: 2 Kings 17:5-8, 13-15A, 18
Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, occupied the whole land and attacked Samaria, which he besieged for three years. In the ninth year of Hoshea, king of Israel the king of Assyria took Samaria, and deported the children of Israel to Assyria, setting them in Halah, at the Habor, a river of Gozan, and the cities of the Medes. This came about because the children of Israel sinned against the LORD, their God, who had brought them up from the land of Egypt, from under the domination of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and because they venerated other gods. They followed the rites of the nations whom the LORD had cleared out of the way of the children of Israel and the kings of Israel whom they set up. And though the LORD warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and seer, “Give up your evil ways and keep my commandments and statutes, in accordance with the entire law which I enjoined on your fathers and which I sent you by my servants the prophets,” they did not listen, but were as stiff-necked as their fathers, who had not believed in the LORD, their God. They rejected his statutes, the covenant which he had made with their fathers, and the warnings which he had given them, till, in his great anger against Israel, the LORD put them away out of his sight. Only the tribe of Judah was left.
Responsorial Psalm 60:3, 4-5, 12-13
R. (7b) Help us with your right hand, O Lord, and answer us.
O God, you have rejected us and broken our defenses;
you have been angry; rally us! R.
You have rocked the country and split it open;
repair the cracks in it, for it is tottering.
You have made your people feel hardships;
you have given us stupefying wine. R.
Have not you, O God, rejected us,
so that you go not forth, O God, with our armies?
Give us aid against the foe,
for worthless is the help of men. R.
Alleluia Hebrews 4:12
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of God is living and effective,
able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel: Matthew 7:1-5
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.”
Judgment is mine, says the Lord. The Assyrian invasion of Israel was as severe as it was destructive. The deportation of captives to Assyria was widespread, with Israel suffering the consequences for many years after. In today’s reading from Kings, it is asserted that the reason for such destruction was Israel’s moral waywardness. Idolatry had become the order of the day; the covenant and its statutes were disregarded. The prophets went unheeded. The invasion was an act of God’s judgment.
The Gospel, however, presents judgment in a different light. It is really quite a compliment when we refer to someone as being “nonjudgmental.” We may see things in another’s conduct that make us put them on trial in our minds. But that is not our responsibility, and in any case we usually don’t know all the facts.
Moreover, Jesus reminds us that our own faults are often more glaring than those of the person we judge. It is clear that we should avoid judging or making comments about others. If we are generous in our dealings with others, God will be generous with us. It is a question of “measure for measure.” Harshness never makes friends; generous feelings almost always do. If we take the wooden log out of our own eye, we will see others in a different light.
– Lord, do not allow us to take pleasure in judging people, but, like you, in pardoning them, we pray:
– Lord, let our faith be an act of trust that we are in your hands, you want our happiness and you know where you lead us, we pray:
– That the awareness of our own shortcomings may dispose us to put aside our irritation at the mistakes of others, we pray:
Prayer over the Gifts
you give us your good gifts without measure,
for you are our Father.
Accept in these offerings of bread and wine
our willingness to learn from your Son
to love one another without measure,
to learn to understand one another
and to go together the ways of peace
of Jesus Christ our Lord.
Prayer after Communion
Lord God, our Father,
your Son came into the world
not to condemn it but to save it.
For this he gives himself to us
here in this Eucharistic celebration.
Let us share in his attitude.
Make us look into our own hearts
and learn to see in our neighbor,
behind their faults and failures,
the face of him who came
to forgive and to fill us with his life,
Jesus Christ our Lord.
“Do not judge and you will not be judged.” The tendency among us is so strong and persistent that it is very difficult to eradicate. May God bless you to make you more deeply Christian, so that he can judge you more mildly: The Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!