Be merciful

Readings for March 1, 2010

First Reading: Daniel 9:4-10
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 79
Gospel: Luke 6:36-38

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.” (Lk 6:36-38)

During the winter and spring, millions of people tune into the popular TV show American Idol. During this hour or two of viewing, each person watching turns into a music judge. I myself have been guilty of tuning in and finding myself judging the contestants. You would think that I am sitting right there with the judges, and that my opinion actually matters during that time. It is funny how eager we are to judge, not just during American Idol, but each and every day of our lives.

In today's gospel readings, we are given warnings about judging people. This is certainly a hard temptation to resist; because when we see a person or situation, we have this desire to analyze that person or situation, form an opinion and then make a judgment. I think that this mostly stems from a desire to know things about the world around us and to have a grasp on reality. But while we are grasping, many times we let our judging get in the way of loving and living as we are meant to. How many times have we given our judgment upon someone, and because we were so busy judging, we never really took to time to help or to love the person as God would want us to? How many times have you passed a homeless person, and thought, "why doesn't that person just get a job?!" How many times have we heard of a kid in school who doesn't do their homework and just thought, "he is simply a lazy kid." How man times have we seen the woman who wears the really short skirts and revealing clothes and formed opinions about her?

Our Father in heaven is merciful beyond comprehension, why do we not do the same? I know that I have to remind myself of how merciful and forgiving God has been to me, and by reminding myself it really helps bring me down from the times that I get up on my high horse. We must always remember two very important things when it comes to judgement: 1) We are not God, it is not our place to judge, that is His responsibility; 2) If we do still insist on judging, then we will be judged by the same standards - "For the measure with which you measure will in return by measured out to you." (Lk 6:38)

May the Lord help each of us stop looking at each other through eyes of judgement, and help us look at each other through eyes of love.

Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for helping us see that we are not judges, but rather we are your children, who are meant to love you and love our neighbors as you call us to. Lord, please forgive us for all that times that we have judged, and not loved as we are called to. Help us to do better in our lives. We pray for all those in need of conversion, and for all those in the Church this lent, that we may all grow during this season of fasting and prayer. WE ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.

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