Eye know – Monday, 12th Week in ordinary time – Mt 7:1-5
So this one too, we can get horribly wrong, should we read the text out of its context. We are in the ‘Sermon on the Mount’ and Jesus’ ministry to His disciples is most clearly, purpose driven. He does not want them to end up like the Scribes and Pharisees. The disciple is called to righteousness not self- righteousness, and it is this that Jesus systematically attacks when He talks of the Scribes and Pharisees.
There had been no prophecy to the Jews for four hundred years before Christ. In this period, there arose groups of men who took it upon themselves to interpret the law; they came to be known as the Pharisees and Scribes. In doing this, they became judges over what was permissible and what was not. However, their judgments were no longer founded on the Law, as much as they were influenced by human traditions.
It is humanly impossible for anyone not to judge at all, and that was not the intention of Jesus when He said, ‘judge not and you will not be judged’. Jesus is principally addressing the Pharisees who had usurped the right to be everyone’s conscience and censor. In doing so, He is also reminding the disciples of what they could become should they stray off the path of discipleship. “The definitive judgment of God belongs to Him alone, for only He sees the heart” (JBC).
And here in lies the path of salvation for the Christian. It is the eye that sees and perhaps that which deceives us. An old adage says, ‘all that glitters is not gold,’ and all that does not sparkle is not rubbish. Perhaps too often our eye has been trained to see negativity, and judgment comes quickly especially with people we don’t like. It is the same eye that overlooks faults in our friends, when we want to. No wonder then, that Jesus ask us to check the plank in our eye before we spot the speck in another.
It is a danger when we begin to believe we know it all and the other knows nothing. Even worse, when we have a knack for criticizing others and a knack for overlooking our own!
Fr Warner D’ Souza
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