A Lenten Renewal:
Reflections on the Mass readings in light of our daily lives
By Mother Marie Julie, SCMC
My Dear Good People,
“It’s human nature,” we say. “To fall. To fail. To choose the apple instead of the pearl of great price. It’s just human nature.” And God knows our nature. But in today’s Gospel passage, as in so many others, the Father sends His Son to tell us that we should rise above our human nature, or rather that we should reach deep down and find our ‘better’ nature– the nature that was imprinted on us before original sin. The nature God breathed into our first parents when He created them–and us– in His own image.
Today Jesus says, Stop judging (Luke 6:36-38. Isn’t that counterintuitive? How can we avoid judging when we see someone doing what we know is wrong? It’s only natural….
For one thing, when we judge we are really entering a region that’s not our nature. We’re reading someone’s mind, looking at the motive, and how can we know someone else’s mind? That’s in God’s nature, and it’s what makes Him the Father of Mercy.
Deep within we know, in a cerebral way, that we, too, do the wrong thing all too often. But we somehow forget that, when we judge another. A judgment leads to gossip which leads to harming another’s reputation. And we have to admit: that’s not just human nature.
Consider this, as I often do: Have I set up a courtroom in my heart? Is there a big desk, a gavel that I call my own? Is there a judgment seat where I take my place and sit in judgment of another? Am I, after all, judge and jury? Do I convict without evidence other than what I see with my eyes, which is often only part of the story? For me, the answer can be yes…. Then does God recognize in me the image of Himself?
I have a proposal for me and for anyone who has constructed a courtroom of the heart –and here I am referring to judgmental thoughts, not just words.
Today let’s burn it down. Let’s use the long list (written on the legal paper of our mind) of people we’ve judged over the course of our lives–our teachers, friends, co-workers, strangers–as kindling. Let’s ask Jesus for a flame of the Mercy that He bears in His heart and set fire to the desk, the gavel, the bench, the walls of our interior courtroom and stand with Jesus as it all burns down. Then when it’s over, let’s sweep those ashes into the place of no-memory, so there’s no evidence of what we used to think of as ‘just our human nature,’ and rejoice in the Gift of Mercy that He has given us, to give to others!
Then, Our God will see in us the real human nature that was created in His own image, by a profound act of Merciful Love.
Oh. I failed to mention the rest of the quote from today’s Gospel. What Jesus really said was, Stop judging, and you will not be judged.
Thank You, Jesus.