Do not Judge But Uphold the Truth
8th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)
The 6 verses in today’s Gospel from Luke the evangelist are packed with nuggets of divine wisdom. These words touch our ordinary daily lives as we live and relate with one another at home, in the family, in the workplace, at school, in the Church, and in society as a whole. It sounds so challenging. This is something that many of us usually do, enjoying it as a pastime. I don’t know but sometimes it is rather interesting to talk about other person’s lives other than our own. It is so easy for us to judge, to stereotype, to put people in a box and say, “ingon ana na man na siya gud!” We immediately make conclusions, at times even without sufficient evidence and the truth. We can focus on one teaching that our Lord highlighted today: “Don’t be judgmental!” The Lord says: “How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother let me remove the splinter in your eye’ when you do not even notice the wooden beam in your own eye?” (“unsaon man pag-ingon sa imong isigkatawo, ‘Ambi, akoy pakuhaa sa imong puling’ nga wala ka man gani makakita sa troso nga anaa sa imong mata?”) Our Lord Jesus, using an exaggerated language, is challenging us in short, not to nitpick about other people’s faults. Let us take time to examine your own lives with its faults first.
An anonymous author once said, “Speak in such a way that others love to listen to you, and listen in such a way that others love to speak to you.” In our dealings with people everyday, what words come out from our mouths? Are we persons who easily give conclusions without enough basis or are we persons who take time to get to know the truth and make a wise and well-thought of decision in the end? Are we the kind of person whom people go to because we know how to listen, take time to be there? We can ask these questions and look at our relationships in our families. How is the relationship between husband and wife, or between the parents to the children and the children to the parents, and the children among themselves? Do we take time to listen attentively and wholeheartedly with each other and not make rash judgment and conclusion? For all of us, especially those who are preparing to practice their right to vote, do we take time to get to know those running for public office in all truth, filtering any fake news and altered truths?
In the later part of the Gospel, Jesus tell us that a tree is known by its fruits: “every good tree bears good fruit, and a rotten tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a rotten tree bear good fruit” (“ang kahoy nga walay sakit dili mamungag walay pulos nga bunga, ni ang masakiton nga kahoy mamungag maayong bunga”). St. Paul, in his letter to the Galatians, wrote that the fruits of the Holy Spirit are “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” The Holy Spirit’s radiant presence in one’s life can be seen through these qualities and values present in him/her. As our Lord Jesus said, “by their fruits you will know them.” We receive the gifts of the Holy Spirit by virtue of the Sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation. This is the time by which we are all reminded, invited, and challenged by the Lord Jesus to let these good fruits shine in us. Not only do we bear good fruits, but that these fruits will also become examples and inspiration to our fellow brothers and sisters who at this time are experiencing anxiety, depression, confusion, loss, pain, and hopelessness. When we bear good fruits, we truly live our being Christians. I believe the greatest compliment that we can receive from others as Christians is not that we are beautiful or handsome, but that we acquire the virtues of Christ, we live the attitudes of our Lord Jesus.
Brothers and sisters, as we celebrate this Eucharist today, let us ask for the grace and strength from the Lord who is calling us that before we go around judging others, look inwards first and examine our own lives. An acquaintance of Socrates, a famous ancient Greek philosopher one day came up to him and said, “Do you know what I just heard about your friend?”
“Hold on a minute,” Socrates replied. “Before you talk to me about my friend, it might be a good idea to take a moment and filter what you are about to say. The first filter is Truth. Have you made absolutely sure that what you are about to tell me is true?” “Well, no,” the man said, “actually I just heard about it and…” “All right,” said Socrates. “So you don’t really know if it’s true or not. Now, let’s try the second filter, the filter of Goodness. Is what you are about to tell me about my friend something good?” “Umm, no, on the contrary…” “So,” Socrates continued, “you want to tell me something bad about my friend, but you are not certain it’s true. You may still pass the test though, because there’s one filter left — the filter of Usefulness. Is what you want to tell me about my friend going to be useful to me?” “No, not really.” “Well,” concluded Socrates, “if what you want to tell me is neither true, nor good, nor even useful, why tell it to me at all?” To sum up what this great philosopher said: Is it true? Is it good? Is it useful to me?
This week, as we prepare for the Season of Lent, let this be our prayer, “Lord, give us the humility and honesty to know ourselves today and always. Amen.”
Disclaimer: This section of the website is a personal creative writing of the author and does not necessarily reflect the official views, opinion, or policies of the Salesians of Don Bosco – Philippines South Province. For concerns on the content, style, and grammar of this piece, please contact us.