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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 (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: “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).

Thoughts on Today's Gospel

  • “People who are beyond hope pay all the less attention to their own sins, the more interested they are in those of others. They are looking for a chance to tear someone to bits, not to put that person to rights.” (Saint Augustine)

  • “You cannot correct a person without love and without charity. Charity is like anesthesia which helps to receive the care and to accept the correction.” (Francis)

  • “The fruits of charity are joy, peace, and mercy; charity demands beneficence and fraternal correction; it is benevolence; it fosters reciprocity and remains disinterested and generous; it is friendship and communion.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, Nº 1829)