2 September, Friday – Judge Not, Lest Ye Be Judged.

Friday of Week 22 in Ordinary Time

1 Cor 4:1-5

Lk 5:33-39

There must be no passing of premature judgement. Leave that until the Lord comes; He will light up all that is hidden in the dark and reveal the secret intention of men’s hearts. Then will be the time for each one to have whatever praise he deserves, from God.

According to the newspaper ‘USA Today’, the average adult makes about 35,000 decisions each day. Assuming that most people spend around seven hours per day sleeping and thus blissfully choice-free, that makes roughly 2,000 decisions per hour, or one decision every two seconds! Personally, I don’t think this enormous figure really holds up, but the idea is somewhat relatable. We make a vast number of choices every day, many of them subconsciously. But even the decision to carry on reading this reflection requires some form of quick judgement. The necessity of making a never-ending stream of judgements in our daily lives will inarguably form a habit in us – the habit of passing some sort of judgements; either on ourselves or the surrounding environment and people. Yet in the first reading today, St. Paul is urging people not to pass judgements or even be conscious of them. Nonetheless, a clear conscience is no assurance that one is innocent of sin. In fact, no one is, except Christ alone. A great deal of our conscience is shaped by our past experiences and upbringing. There are obviously people who are oblivious of their heinous acts and suffer no pangs of conscience. The frequency of these acts and the rationalisation of them will only make ourselves believe that our actions are justifiable.

All of the judgements we pronounce are premature; our human nature simply doesn’t allow us to see the lives of persons and know their hearts in entirety. Even the people we encounter everyday – spouses, siblings, colleagues and friends; we may think that we know them well but in truth, we know more about how they appear in our minds than who they truly are. Since people do not have sufficient information or competence to judge others or even themselves, then logically, the only judgement that matters will be the one announced by the Lord who sees and knows all things! The proverb of “Judge not, lest ye be judged” is common knowledge to all, yet hardly anyone truly inculcates this in their lives. As Shakespeare mentioned in the Merchant of Venice, “If to do were as easy as to know what were good to do, chapels had been churches, and poor men’s cottages princes’ palaces. It is a good divine that follows his own instructions: I can easier teach twenty what were good to be done, than be one of the twenty to follow mine own teaching.” Hence, if the doing were as easy as the preaching, the world would be a much simpler place.

We also need to realise that the boundary between reality and deception is very foggy; which is why people don’t realise what they are seeing can be false or unreal. The emergence of deepfake technology is merely a vindication of the deception that has been ongoing since eternity. However, our behaviours have been naturalised to the extent that passing judgements are second nature; we do it at every chance, based on outward appearances. As we progress in life and with experience, we tend to look beneath the layers to make our judgements less silly or impulsive, even though they are inadequate, nonetheless. Not passing judgements is an uphill task — we need to give time to all things and not jump to conclusions, simply because humans can be very delicate and complicated. That is why we should never let our guards down and always try to act prudently. With enough practice, we should be able to identify the love and the spirit in and around our lives, because that is how Christ has guided us to live.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Dylan Tan)

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we come to you in prayer with a heart of thanksgiving. Your goodness and mercy will sustain us, and we praise you for your loving kindness. Please guide and direct our lives and fill us with your Holy Spirit as we face each new day. We trust in your divine love and counsel, and we know that you are a God who never fails. Help us to embrace each day with the assurance of your guidance. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Thanksgiving: Thank you Heavenly Father, for being with us every single moment of our lives and guiding us on the path of righteousness.

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