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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Monday 12th in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (2Kgs 17:5-8.13-15a.18): Shalmaneser, king of Assyria, occupied the whole land and attacked Samaria, which he besieged for three years. In the ninth year of Hoshea, king of Israel the king of Assyria took Samaria, and deported the children of Israel to Assyria, setting them in Halah, at the Habor, a river of Gozan, and the cities of the Medes. This came about because the children of Israel sinned against the Lord, their God, who had brought them up from the land of Egypt, from under the domination of Pharaoh, king of Egypt, and because they venerated other gods. They followed the rites of the nations whom the Lord had cleared out of the way of the children of Israel and the kings of Israel whom they set up.

And though the Lord warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and seer, «Give up your evil ways and keep my commandments and statutes, in accordance with the entire law which I enjoined on your fathers and which I sent you by my servants the prophets», they did not listen, but were as stiff-necked as their fathers, who had not believed in the Lord, their God. They rejected his statutes, the covenant which he had made with their fathers, and the warnings which he had given them, till, in his great anger against Israel, the Lord put them away out of his sight. Only the tribe of Judah was left.
Responsorial Psalm: 59
R/. Help us with your right hand, O Lord, and answer us.
O God, you have rejected us and broken our defenses; you have been angry; rally us!

You have rocked the country and split it open; repair the cracks in it, for it is tottering. You have made your people feel hardships; you have given us stupefying wine.

Have not you, o God, rejected us, so that you go not forth, o God, with our armies? Give us aid against the foe, for worthless is the help of men.
Versicle before the Gospel (Heb 4:12): Alleluia. The word of God is living and effective, able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Mt 7,1-5): Jesus said to his disciples, «Do not judge and you will not be judged. In the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and the measure you use for others will be used for you. Why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye and not see the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother: ‘Come, let me take the speck from your eye’, as long as that plank is in your own? Hypocrite, take first the plank out of your own eye, then you will see clear enough to take the speck out of your brother's eye».

«In the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and the measure you use for others will be used for you»

Fr. Jordi POU i Sabater (Sant Jordi Desvalls, Girona, Spain)

Today, the Gospel has reminded me of the Marshalling's words in Der Rosenkavalier, by Hugo von Hofmansthal: «The big difference lies upon the “how”». In many aspects of our life —particularly our spiritual life— the end result will change, depending upon “how” we do something.

Jesus said: «Do not judge and you will not be judged» (Mt 7:1). But Jesus had also said that we are to correct our sinful brother, and to do that we have got to previously make some kind of judgment. In his writings, St. Paul does judge the Corinthian community and St. Peter condemns Ananias and his wife Sapphira for falsehood. Because of that, St. John Crisostom explains: «Jesus is not saying we cannot prevent a sinner from sinning; we have to correct him, indeed, though not as the enemy seeking revenge but, rather, as a doctor applying the cure». It seems, therefore, our judgment should be mostly made with an aim to mend, not to take revenge.

But what St. Augustine says is even more interesting: «The Lord prevents us from judging quickly and unfairly (...). We should first ponder whether we have not made a similar sin; let us remember we are fragile, and let us always [judge] with the intention of serving God and not ourselves». If, when we see our brothers' sins we remember our own, it will not happen to us, as the Gospel says, that with a plank in our eyes we try to take the speck out of our brother's eye (cf. Mt 7:3).

If we are well prepared, we shall see the good and bad things in our fellow men, and almost unconsciously we shall form a judgment. But to look at others' faults from that point of view will help us as to the way “how” we judge: it will help us not to judge for the sake of judging, or just to say something or, perhaps, to cover our own deficiencies or, simply, because everybody does it. And, above all, let us always remember Jesus' words: «In the same way you judge others, you will be judged» (Mt 7:2).

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