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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Monday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Gen 12:1-9): The Lord said to Abram: ‘Go forth from the land of your kinsfolk and from your father’s house to a land that I will show you. I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you; I will make your name great, so that you will be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you and curse those who curse you. All the communities of the earth shall find blessing in you’.

Abram went as the Lord directed him, and Lot went with him. Abram was seventy-five years old when he left Haran. Abram took his wife, Sarai, his brother’s son Lot, all the possessions that they had accumulated, and the persons they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan. When they came to the land of Canaan, Abram passed through the land as far as the sacred place at Shechem, by the terebinth of Moreh. (The Canaanites were then in the land).

The Lord appeared to Abram and said, ‘To your descendants I will give this land’. So Abram built an altar there to the Lord who had appeared to him. From there he moved on to the hill country east of Bethel, pitching his tent with Bethel to the west and Ai to the east. He built an altar there to the Lord and invoked the Lord by name. Then Abram journeyed on by stages to the Negeb.
Responsorial Psalm: 32
R/. Blessed the people the Lord has chosen to be his own.
Blessed the nation whose God is the Lord, the people he has chosen for his own inheritance. From heaven the Lord looks down; he sees all mankind.

See, the eyes of the Lord are upon those who fear him, upon those who hope for his kindness, to deliver them from death and preserve them in spite of famine.

Our soul waits for the Lord, who is our help and our shield. May your kindness, o Lord, be upon us who have put our hope in you.
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: “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.”

«For as you judge, so will you be judged, and the measure with which you measure will be measured out to you»

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

Today, the Gospel has reminded me the words of “The Knight of the Rose” opera, by Hugo von Hofmannsthal: «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: “Stop judging, that you may 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 Chrysostom explains: «Jesus is not saying we cannot prevent a sinner from sinning; yes, we have to correct him, 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”. When we see our brothers' sins, if we remember our own, it will not happen to us, as the Gospel says, that with a wooden beam in our eyes we try to take the splinter 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 looking 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: “For as you judge, so will you be judged” (Mt 7:2).