First Reading: 2 Kings 17:5-8, 13-15, 18
Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 60
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.” (Mt 7:1-5)
Here is an easy multiple choice question for everyone: What is our basic purpose in life?
a) To label everyone we meet
b) To judge our brothers and sisters
c) To tell other people all the things that they are doing wrong
d) To love and be loved
If you picked Answer D (which I hope you all did), then you picked correctly. When we look at a question like this, the answer is clear and we certainly know it in our heads; we are here to love and to be loved. To love and to be loved is the basic purpose which we all share in this life. We know in our heads that we are not here to judge; however, while we know this in our heads, the way in which we live our life may say the exact opposite.
It is always easier to go through life telling others what is wrong with them, labeling and judging them. As people, we have become very good at it, in fact we have become so good that sometimes we spend most of our time judging instead of loving. Jesus warns us of this in today's gospel. He uses the extreme example of recognizing the wooden beam in our own eye, before we try and remove the splinter from our brother's eye. While this example may seem silly to us, it is certainly a great analogy of what we each try and do in our own lives. Many of us ignore our own faults and shortcomings, (and believe me we all have them) and look to what is wrong with other people instead of what is going on in our own life. But the question is how can we judge if we cannot see correctly? Jesus tells us that we must first remove the wooden beam from our own eye before we can remove the splinter from someone else's eye. This involves recognizing that we fall short, asking for forgiveness, and humbling ourselves before God. Once we get to this point we can help others, and we will see clearly because we are not trying to help someone out of judgement, but rather out of love.
Today, let us reflect on the words of Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta once said: "If you judge people, you have not time to love them."
Father above, we thank you and praise you for the gift of this day. Lord, thank you for all that you have blessed us with and for all that you do. Lord, help us to remove the wooden beam from our own eye, and not to judge others but to love them as you do. Lord, you are so good to us, much more than we deserve, help us to spend the rest of our days on this earth serving you and doing your perfect will. Lord, we love you and thank you for the gift of our lives. We ask this all through Christ our Lord. Amen.