14 January 2017
The word of God is something alive and active: it cuts like any double-edged sword but more finely: it can slip through the place where the soul is divided from the spirit, or joints from the marrow; it can judge the secret emotions and thoughts. No created thing can hide from him; everything is uncovered and open to the eyes of the one to whom we must give account of ourselves.
Since in Jesus, the Son of God, we have the supreme high priest who has gone through to the highest heaven, we must never let go of the faith that we have professed. For it is not as if we had a high priest who was incapable of feeling our weaknesses with us; but we have one who has been tempted in every way that we are, though he is without sin. Let us be confident, then, in approaching the throne of grace, that we shall have mercy from him and find grace when we are in need of help.
Jesus went out to the shore of the lake; and all the people came to him, and he taught them. As he was walking on he saw Levi the son of Alphaeus, sitting by the customs house, and he said to him, ‘Follow me.’ And he got up and followed him.
When Jesus was at dinner in his house, a number of tax collectors and sinners were also sitting at the table with Jesus and his disciples; for there were many of them among his followers. When the scribes of the Pharisee party saw him eating with sinners and tax collectors, they said to his disciples, ‘Why does he eat with tax collectors and sinners?’ When Jesus heard this he said to them, ‘It is not the healthy who need the doctor, but the sick. I did not come to call the virtuous, but sinners.’
“The word of God is something alive and active: it cuts like any double-edged sword but more finely”
When my children were still toddlers, going to church for Mass was an amazingly stressful event. Doing what children do, they tended to speak, scream or sing out loud at the most inappropriate times.
There were more than a few occasions when we got irate stares from those around us. There was a time when a young lady tapped my wife on her shoulder and told us to “control our children”. As if it wasn’t enough, she continued to say that the noise was disturbing her prayer time. It was especially difficult given that my kids were not exactly very loud, and we were, in fact, bringing them outside the church whenever we felt that they were disturbing those around us.
Another time this happened, a gentleman looked at us and smiled warmly. Speaking gently, he told us: “Don’t worry. That’s what children do”. Edmund (we made a new friend that day!), in fact, was not the only one to comfort us. Others around us gave us similar smiles and approving nods. Their actions gave us an inordinate amount of comfort, and we felt safe in the celebration of the mass.
As a Christian, there are times when I have been judgmental. Seeing someone else doing something inappropriate, I inadvertently mouth the words “How can they….”, followed by the action/thought/attitude that the other person demonstrates.
Following these events, I often feel ashamed. I am like the sinner that has cast the first stone. How can I, a recipient of God’s infinite forgiveness, choose to levy judgment on my fellow brothers and sisters? I feel like the unforgiving servant who goes out to collect on a miniscule debt, despite myself having been forgiven a debt many many times more than that.
As we grow in our faith and travel along the path of life, let us always be mindful that we should not be judgmental of others. We need, of course, to be able to (lovingly) correct the erroneous actions of our fellow brothers and sisters, but never judge them as children of God our Father.
(Today’s Oxygen by Paul Wee)
Prayer – O Father, teach us to treat those around us lovingly. Help us not be judgmental, thinking that we are better than these brothers and sisters.
Thanksgiving – Thank You, Father God, for giving us the gift of forgiveness. Thank You for not thinking that we are unworthy of Your favour and love.