June 23, 2008
Monday of the Twelfth Week in Ordinary Time
Matthew 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."
Introductory Prayer: Lord Jesus, I place myself in your presence. I have set aside this moment for you, so that you can speak to me and I can listen to your words. Speak to my heart! I believe that you are present, with all the graces I need right now, in the current circumstances of my life. I hope in you, Lord, because I know I cannot place my hope in the things of the world. I love you, Lord, and I know how much you love me.
Petition: Lord God, remove the splinter from my eye! Help me to stop judging my neighbor.
1. For As You Judge… We all have a propensity for judging others. It can be hard to make it through a day without doing so. We judge the person in the yellow Hummer who cuts us off while talking on the cell phone; we judge the tired or grumpy spouse who forgets our needs; we judge the waiter who forgot we didn’t want pickles on our burger. In short, we often judge quickly, mercilessly, and based on first impressions, without really knowing what’s going on (or not going on) inside those around us. We see only the externals; God alone sees the heart. Today Christ invites us to take a look at ourselves instead. What do we really solve by judging others?
2. Judge Yourself, Too The truth is that people have annoying defects. Our Lord himself admits that it’s easy to see a splinter protruding from our neighbor’s eye—who couldn’t notice that? Our neighbor’s faults, however, shouldn’t distract us from a sincere examination of ourselves. We have our own splinters to deal with, too. At the end of the day, judging obtains little or nothing productive; rather, it is much more fruitful to spend our time rooting out our own defects instead. “Why do you notice the splinter in your brother's eye, but do not perceive the wooden beam in your own eye?”
3. Increasing our Sight Removing a splinter is painful work, and the longer you wait the worse it gets! Removing them from our life brings about the happy result of a more profound self-understanding, as well as an increased empathy for others. Once removed from our eye, we can see better where we are and whither we are going; we can judge better what to do and how to do it. Let us reflect deeply during this meditation on Our Lord’s words: “Remove the wooden beam from your eye first; then you will see clearly to remove the splinter from your brother's eye."
Dialogue with Christ: “CHRIST: My child, do not be curious nor concern yourself with useless cares. What is this or that to you? What difference does it make whether this person is good or bad, or whether one acts or speaks this way or that? You do not have to answer for others, but you must give an account of yourself” (Thomas à Kempis, The Imitation of Christ, Book III, Chapter 24).
Resolution: Today, before Christ, I will make a sincere examination of my most prominent defects.
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