Gospel text (Mt 7,1-5):
Jesus said to his disciples, «Do not judge and you will not be judged. In the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and the measure you use for others will be used for you. Why do you look at the speck in your brother's eye and not see the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother: ‘Come, let me take the speck from your eye’, as long as that plank is in your own? Hypocrite, take first the plank out of your own eye, then you will see clear enough to take the speck out of your brother's eye».
«In the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and the measure you use for others will be used for you»
Fr. Jordi POU i Sabater
(Sant Jordi Desvalls, Girona, Spain)
Today, the Gospel has reminded me of the Marshalling's words in Der Rosenkavalier, by Hugo von Hofmansthal: «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: «Do not judge and you will 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 Crisostom explains: «Jesus is not saying we cannot prevent a sinner from sinning; we have to correct him, indeed, 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». If, when we see our brothers' sins we remember our own, it will not happen to us, as the Gospel says, that with a plank in our eyes we try to take the speck 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 to look 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: «In the same way you judge others, you will be judged» (Mt 7:2).