Monday, June 22, 2009

Cost of Judgement

Today's Gospel

Making a judgment is not as easy as some would like it to be or believe it to be. While Jesus warns against making judgments, what me means should be considered. No one of us from the smallest toddler to the centenarian is free from making judgments. Our daily lives are filled with the need to pass judgment upon actions and upon people. So, what's the story? Parents have to make judgments about their children, about how to run their homes, about their children's schools and friends, discipline, vacations and how much TV or Internet time is reasonable. Young adults or even older adults have to face vocation decisions and judgments. What job is best for a person? Who is the better candidate for the position in my office? And on and on. We are a decision making people. Our world, our lives demand it. What does Jesus mean?

The meaning in Jesus' advice to us is found in the word "condemnation." Don't condemn without investing time, patience and kindness. Examine your judgments: "Do I know all the facts, all the history in a person's life?" If you were being judged, would you not want every item, every fact in your history brought to a judgment against you? Secondly, when judging another person, freedom from personal prejudices cannot be overlooked. We see examples of this is so many instances in our American history: "Coloreds use rear of the trolley" was a sign in the trolley car that I used when a young person here in Washington. How many clubs proudly boasted "men only" signs? "Irish need not apply." "Illegals get out." "Roman Catholics not hired." Just a number of signs that remind us that freedom from prejudices is a challenge throughout history. It is a part of our very make up to feel the need to give preferences.

Lastly, there is the most difficult reality that faces anyone making judgments: Am I good enough to make judgments? Am I really qualified to pass judgment or condemnation on another human being? It is the challenge to remove that splinter from our own eyes before we condemn others.

Today, I ask you to remember in your prayers the St. Joseph's on Capitol Hill parish's Thomas More Society that will be gathering for Mass today. It is his feast day, celebrated perhaps with more impetus in England than in the USA. Thomas More was born in 1477. He was a family man: a wife, son and three daughters. He became England Royal Chancellor. While in that position he authored books on good government and defended the faith. Because he refused to sign the Act of Succession, he was taken to prison. Because he opposed the marriage of King Henry VIII, More, along with John Fisher, was beheaded in the summer of 1535.