Today’s reading from the USCCB is from the Gospel of Luke
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.”
This is a short and powerful statement from the lips of Christ. Jesus gives explicit commands to His followers that are, ultimately, the most difficult things for people to do. He tells us to stop judging and condemning and directs us to forgive and give instead.
It seems to me that doing so will take our hearts from being closed and critical, and open them to being giving and joyful. We are able to really connect to the glory that is in this world if we are not always putting ourselves above others. If, instead of judging someone when they do not meet our standards we instead give to them and help them. By opening ourselves to others through giving and forgiving we tear down the barriers between us. With those demolished we can see each other for who we really are, children of God made in the image and likeness of God. When we see God in another person we can no longer hold ourselves in superiority to them, but instead must fall to our knees at their feet in reverence.
Image credit goes to the Tate Museum.