Romans 2:1-11 / Lk 11:42-46
In today’s epistle reading, St. Paul could be describing any one of us. We human beings seem to have an overwhelming compulsion to judge, whatever the issue or the occasion may happen to be. As if we dwelt on the heights of Mt. Olympus, we always have some judgment to offer, whether it’s our business or not. And what we have to say is rarely positive.
Where does this need to judge come from? A lack of realistic self-knowledge is what makes this kind of judging others possible, but the judging itself comes straight out of ego, the need to make ourselves more by making our neighbors less. Of course, it doesn’t work, because as St. Paul says, “By your judgment you convict yourself, since you do the very same things.”
So what’s the remedy for this habit which is so persistent in so many of us? The only place to start is with getting to know ourselves a lot better, and facing up to our own sins, follies, and mistakes. There’s a lifetime of work at transformation and conversion right there. No need to look outside. And as we progress, we need to learn to take delight at each milestone along the way, making no comparisons to anyone else. That’s the way that God looks at us — all on our own, with no comparisons and no useless judgments.
There is one more thing that’s needed, and that is to begin to think like God as we look at one another. In the place of those judgmental thoughts, one question should run through our minds over and over: How can I support you, my brothers and sisters, as you struggle to grow into all that God wants and hopes for you? That question can free us from judging forever! And it can open our hearts to joys we’ve never known — the joys of being builders, just like God.