Tuesday, 17th Week in Ordinary Time

            We live in a society that promotes the culture of rash judgment –and ‘prerequisite’ to it is, of course, the culture of gossip. There seems to be a strong demand for instant judgment. Think of the “instant surveys” that media outlets are fond of doing when, for example, a controversial issue comes up or a shocking scandal erupts or an alleged crime is reported. People are asked, in one way or another, to talk about the personalities involved in the issue or scandal. And the survey question boils down to: who is ‘right’ and who is ‘wrong’, who is ‘good’ and who is ‘bad’. People are somehow influenced to make judgment on various things which they do not necessarily have informed knowledge of.

            The point I am trying to make is this: Many people, including ourselves, wittingly or unwittingly, assume the right to label who is ‘good’ and who is ‘bad’ –even without knowing the whole truth and nothing but the truth. And worse, we take it upon ourselves, with a wrong sense of being entitled, we consider it as our ‘right’ and ‘duty’, to ‘eliminate’ those who have done harm in the community. Today’s gospel is a warning against this mentality of uprooting or the so-called culture of rash judgment.

            We can make a moral evaluation of the deeds and actions of someone. But we are not to make a moral judgment on the whole being of a person based only on particular deeds and actions of that person. We can in no way express an opinion as to his or her spiritual state, at the moment he or she is performing these actions. Unless, of course, we claim to be ‘gods’. And that is exactly what we do when we judge others: we play ‘gods’. Iyan ang nakakatakot ngayon: ang daming lumalabas na ‘diyos’ –mga umaasal na parang diyos na may kakayahang magbasa sa puso ng ibang tao at husgahan ito!

            Judgment is not ours to pass! Judgment should be passed only at the end of a person’s life by God, not in the middle of it by a human person like him or her. The task of separating the good from the bad should be reserved to God, who will set things right in his own time. “In his time, he makes all things beautiful… in his time.” In the meantime, patience, tolerance and avoidance of social labels must prevail. We have to show our faith in God who alone knows the human heart.

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