By Pat Miron
I heard a homily this morning that raised issues I had not thought of for quite awhile. It was based on today’s Gospel reading from: Matthew 7:1-5.
“Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, `Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother’s eye.”
I have long admired this story as it makes it’s point so abundantly clear. [And don’t tell anyone, but I have been guilty of this in the past.] Humanity seems to have a “natural” tendency [fault], that encourages us to pass judgment on others before, or perhaps even in lieu of judging our own thoughts and actions FIRST. And NO ! it is not a gender issue. All humanity seems prone to this action.
So what was Christ position on making or passing “judgments”? Did Jesus prohibit such actions? No, he did not. BUT he specified HOW and when one may do this.
Matthew 7: 12-28 “So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets.”. “Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few. “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. …. [There are MANY Thousands of them] You will know them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thorns, or figs from thistles? So, every sound tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears evil fruit. A sound tree cannot bear evil fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will know them by their fruits. “Not every one who says to me, `Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but [ONLY] he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, `Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, `I never knew you; depart from me, you evildoers.’ “Every one then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house upon the rock; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat upon that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.
And every one who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand; and the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell; and great was the fall of it.” And when Jesus finished these sayings, the crowds were astonished at his teaching, “
WOW! What a powerful set of Teachings.
1. Treat Others as YOU your self desire to be treated
2. Doing so is NOT supposed to be easy [and is only possible with God’s help].
3. Beware of false prophets. One can ask if this was at least in part a prophesy about the Many THOUSANDS of varying sects in today’s Protestant Communion? At the time it was taught their were already men who thought that they knew more or knew better than Christ himself.
4. We are told to ONLY judge actions; NEVER the motive!
5. Only through Obedience to “God’s Will” ought anyone expect to possibly attain heaven. ….This raises the question of HOW can One be ASSURED they are doing God’s Will? Both within the CC and especially outside of the CC. “Like a foolish man” who builds on a sandy foundation are the churches not founded by Christ Himself. I WONDER if Christ was thinking about what He would soon be doing for Simon? “You are [now] Peter; [a term meaning Rock.] “Upon YOU Peter”… I WILL [and HAVE] BUILD MY [HOUSE], MY CHURCH. [Mt. 16:15-1.
Today’s homily [EWTN Mass}, by Father Mendendez, then went on to talk about “Gossip” and a sin termed “ Calumny.”
CALUMNY. “Injuring another person’s good name by lying. It is doubly sinful, in unjustly depriving another of his good name and in telling an untruth. Since calumny violates justice, it involves the duty of making reparation for the foreseen injury inflicted. Hence the calumniator must try, not only to repair the harm done to another’s good name, but also to make up for any foreseen temporal loss that resulted from the calumny, for example, loss of employment or customers. (Etym. Latin calumnia, a false accusation, malicious charge; from calvi, to deceive.)” From Father Hardon’s Catholic Dictionary.
Here it becomes necessary to further define these acts, as Gossip can be a Venial [lesser sin] under precise circumstances. [When it does to actual harm to one’s reputation.]
1. All Gossip is sinful. What kind of sin depends on the harm inflicted, and the intent of the Gossiper.
2. Malicious Gossip, [defined as any spoken word; true or untrue that does injury to another persons reputation is a GRIEVOUS and Mortal sin. WHY? Because it in an absolute sense need not be spoken in the first place.
3. Calumny is Gossip that is “made up” and spoken with the intent of doing harm to another’s reputation. It is ALWAYS Gravely sinful.
As I have shared in the past [for those who have been with us for awhile], God’s Wisdom is evident in the unique manner that He Created all of humanity. Only the planet Earth among the MANY BILLIONS of planets and stars can be proven to support life forms. On earth are HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF “LIVING THINGS.” BUT only One; humanity can LOVE.
That fact by itself imposes a HUGE responsibility on us. It is inconceivable that God permits as to love without imposing a GRAVE responsibility upon all of us to do so. The first three Commandments deal with requisite Love of God [Isa. 43:7.21]. The “new” Commandment presented to us by Christ confirms what we already know. “Forgive US our trespasses [ONLY TO THE DEGREE THAT WE] forgive those who trespass against us. John.13: 34 “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; even as I have loved you, that you also love one another”
Frivolous talk is just that. Unnecessary. I would point out that these sins include complicity to permit others to do so in your presence. Or just taking any active role is such conversations.
We should strive to avoid passing judgments as much as is practical and possible. When a judgment becomes necessary it must be made on “OBJECTIVE” [that is verifiable information], never “subjective,” based on feelings and not facts.
Perhaps some of you have family or friends who have left the CC. I know I do. Here are the guidelines offered by Father, on how such situations ought to be handled.
1. Always in Private
2. Always with EXTREME non-judgmental charity
3. With a frequency of three or four times a year.
Expanding on this advice:
Avoid at all cost embarrassing the person being given “fraternal correction.” Never attempt to guess at their motives for their actions. That is God’s territory. Allow them to bring up the issue. Never solicit this information.
Be gentle: perhaps ask them if they would care to join you for Mass. Yes or NO, leave it to God’s providential care.
Don’t nag. Allow your own example to speak for you. Pray for them and their conversion daily.
Because God gives us aids and grace not available outside of the CC; God has a right to expect more from us. Sacramental Grace often makes the difference between heaven and hell.
Let us strive be known by our Love for one another. Pray for the graces necessary to be able to know our Faith, LIVE it, and when God gives us the opportunity; to explain it, fully and with charity; and always without judgment!
May God continue to Bless you and your’s,
Love and prayers, Pat