Do We Sometimes Judge Others?

The psalmist today recognises that as a sinner he sees things differently to God.  He pleads: “Lord make me know your ways, teach me your paths.”   We can have the tendency to judge others without knowing the full picture.  This is why only God can judge.

In the first reading we see that God forgives all who repent.  We are all sinners in need of God’s mercy.  Our Heavenly Father looks at each person through His loving and compassionate eyes.  We however can be quick to see the faults of others.  We can jump to judgement without trying to understand why someone may have acted in a particular way.  When we are conscious of our own faults we are more sympathetic towards others.  Things are never black and white.  There is often more to a person’s actions than meets the eye.

There once was a business man who worked very long hours in NYC.  Sunday morning was the highlight of his week.  Each Sunday, he took the Subway train to Central Park, where he relaxed, read the papers and drank coffee.  Most people taking the train with him seemed to have the same desire and the train was always nice and peaceful.  One Sunday morning a man entered the train with his four children.  The man sat whilst his children ran around shouting and banging into everyone.  The business man tried to give the father an angry stare, but the father seemed to not notice.  The business man grew more and more angry, as he thought to himself, how selfish the father was.  His anger grew as he considered how hard he worked and how he had the right to some peace on a Sunday morning.  Eventually he elbowed the father and said “you selfish and irresponsible man, will you please take control of your children.”  The father apologised asking for forgiveness.  He said “we have just come from the hospital where my wife has just died.  I think this is the children’s way of trying to cope.  The businessman’s jaw dropped, and he said “oh I am sorry, I did not realise!

In today’s parable of the 2 sons, the Chief Priests attached importance solely to the completion of the task by the first son.  He eventually went to work in the vineyard but he had initially refused stating “I will not go.”  I must admit that I too chose the first son.  Did you?  For the Chief Priests, and us too, the important thing can often be what you do, how you look.  This leads to judgement of others, like the tax collectors and prostitutes.  We can consider ourselves righteous.  Jesus, however, shows us that it was the second son, who replied “certainly sir”, who was most pleasing to God, because he desired to do God’s will.  In other words, his heart was disposed towards the good.  We can often fail after that, for many different reasons, but the important thing is what we wanted to do.

St Paul, in today’s second reading, advises us on how to not judge others.  He says “always consider the other to be better than ourselves.”  We are to “think of their interests first.”  In other words we are to be like Christ, who wasn’t judging those crucifying Him, but praying for them.  This of course is not easy, and we will sometimes fail, but if we desire to do this, like the second son in the parable, and if we ask for God’s help, then all things are possible.

May the Blessed Virgin Mary help us to see our own need for constant repentance, and help us to try and understand others, rather than judge them.  AMEN.

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