Today’s gospel begins,
“Jesus said to his disciples:
“Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
“Stop judging and you will not be judged.
Stop condemning and you will not be condemned.”
The line “Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful” was the source of the motto for the Jubilee Year of Mercy that we just concluded in November 2016 on the Solemnity of Christ the King. While the Jubilee Year of Mercy has ended, our own need to receive mercy and our call to show mercy to others never ends.
When I think about Jesus’ words “Stop judging and you will not be judged,” I think about how we might rush to judgment of others when we do not know all the circumstances. If we do something wrong, don’t we want God and others to take the circumstances into account? Then we need to realize we must never rush to judgment of others.
As I read today’s readings, I remembered a visit I had to the emergency room fifteen years ago. I was the patient but not a “terrible” problem. I had cut my left hand and it was just bad enough to need a couple of stitches. I waited and waited in the room waiting for the doctor. As I waited, I began to wonder how long it would take. Yet, I was aware that the ER had three possible heart cases come in and one of them was my mother. So I decided I could be patient waiting because I knew there was more going than just me. If I hadn’t known the circumstances (with my mother as one of the patients), I would have become very frustrated.
Incidentally, my mother ended up not having heart issues. She had COPD with Emphysema and was having a bad spell. I was at her house working on stuff when she got bad so I called the ambulance. You should have seen the look on the EMT’s face when he came in the door on a call for “difficult breathing” and I was standing there holding a bandage over my wrist. I pointed him to my mother, saying I would be fine. I just needed someone to bandage me so I could follow the ambulance in my car.