When It Comes to Others, We Seldom See the Whole Picture

Today’s Gospel account contained some very powerful words from Jesus.  “Stop judging and you will not be judged.”  How easy it is to be critical, to be hasty in making judgments, to be intolerant of the faults of others. 

This is a true story.  One morning a priest was celebrating Mass when he noticed a woman coming in very late.  He was so annoyed that when she came up for Communion, he refused to give her Communion. He did not stop to consider that she might have had a very good reason for being late. No, unfortunately he rushed to judgment. In doing so, he made a serious mistake and caused hurt feelings.

Obviously he did not know the first thing about the woman or about her home situation.  She was a good mother and deeply committed Catholic.  She was not in the habit of coming late to Mass.  She was coping with a very sick husband and handicapped daughter.  Daily Mass, and reception of Holy Communion in particular, was extremely important.

Why was she late for Mass on that particular morning? She had to take her handicapped daughter to the bus so that she could get to a daycare center. Unfortunately the bus was half an hour late.

When it comes to others, we seldom see the whole picture.  Sad to say, it doesn’t keep us from jumping to conclusions and rushing to make a judgment.  Even when we do see the whole picture, we are mandated by Christ to refrain from hasty judgments. 

None of us likes to be judged.  Many of us know from experience that when it does happen it creates hurt and resentment. 

All of us are sinners.  Though we deserve God’s judgment, which of us wants to receive that judgment?  Do we not all long for mercy and forgiveness rather than judgment?  As people who are conscious of our own need, not for judgment and condemnation, but for forgiveness and compassion, let us not be hasty to judge others.  In reality, we should refrain from judging others altogether.

It is important to keep in mind some other words of Jesus from today’s Gospel account: “Do to others as you would have them do to you.  For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you.”

— Father Dennis, February 24, 2019