Moments

Judge not

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The story is told about a wife who exclaimed to her husband: “Honey, our maid has left us, and she brought with her our towels!”

The husband said: “People nowadays seem to have no values anymore. By the way, which towels did she steal?”

The wife replied: “The expensive ones that we brought home from the last hotel we stayed in.”

* * *

In today’s Gospel (Lk. 7, 36-8,3), Jesus teaches us not to be proud or self-righteous when we compare ourselves with others. All of us are sinners and all of us have been forgiven. In humility, we, too, must learn to forgive, to respect, and to be compassionate toward others. Remember, there are no greater gods among us. Instead of comparing ourselves with others, let us just be grateful for God’s unconditional love and mercy for us all.

* * *

I am reminded of a story about a skydiving student who asked the instructor: “What will happen if the parachute does not open?”

The instructor’s response was: “That’s what we’d call ‘jumping to a conclusion.’”

How many times have we judged other people without giving them a chance to defend themselves, or even be heard? Let us remember to be kind to others in our actions, in our words, and, yes, even in our thoughts.

* * *

It is very painful to be judged or condemned just on the basis of hearsay, or of impressions. May we not be judgmental of people who are different from us because of creed, code, or cult, or just because they are “not one of us.” Indeed, do not do unto others what you do not want others to do unto you.

* * *

The problem with those who observe the law strictly is that they oftentimes end up as mere observers—cold, indifferent, and proud. It is as if they deserve to be favored or saved because of their efforts and discipline. In other words, they rely more on their merits rather than on God’s grace. We cannot save ourselves. We cannot embezzle heaven, so to speak.

* * *

There are people who mean well. But the problem with well-meaning people is that they can end up being mean. They play the game of expectations and impositions on others, making themselves the standard of conduct and morality. Let not our righteousness lead us to self-righteousness.

* * *

Fr. Herbert Scholz, SVD, writes in “The Word in Other Words” that sin is “not primarily a question of law and order, but first and above all a matter of failing to love.” We should go beyond being legalistic and become more personal in our relationship with God. Sincere repentance makes us more humble, more grateful, and more loving. We grow as persons when we focus more on our contrition rather than on our violations.

* * *

“Your sins are forgiven.” How consoling to know that our God is a God of compassion and mercy! Just as we feel joy when we are forgiven, that same joy comes to us when we forgive others, or when we ask for forgiveness from others. Yes, repentance sets us free from our prisons, and fears.

* * *

The sinful woman in today’s Gospel washed, kissed and anointed the feet of Jesus out of love. Last month, when I came home from a pilgrimage, I gifted my 91-year-old Mama with a pair of soft room slippers. As I was putting them on her feet, I could not hold back my tears, remembering how she bought shoes or slippers for me and put them on me when I was a child. I was just overwhelmed with gratitude for having been given the chance to do the same for her in her old age. Now she has no money to buy me a pair of slippers. But she has so much love and gratitude for all who care for her.

* * *

I cannot forget the joy on Mama’s face as she walked around the room with her new pair of slippers, and how she embraced me and thanked me repeatedly. Yes, little things do mean a lot. Matters of the heart do matter. Let us neither take for granted nor postpone our appreciation and love.

* * *

Let us also take time to express love and affection to our dear fathers. There is this story that one night a father overheard his son pray: “Dear God, make me the kind of man my Daddy is.” Later that night, the father prayed: “Dear God, please make me the kind of man my son wants me to be.”

* * *

Happy Father’s Day! May all fathers follow and emulate our loving Father in heaven who loves, provides, protects, guides and understands. Cheers! God bless!

* * *

Inviting you to join me for a pilgrimage to Medjugorje and Eastern Europe (which includes Poland, Prague, Vienna and Dubrovnik) on Oct 14-28. Medjugorje has always been, for me and for many others, a place for conversion and renewal. For inquiries, please contact 5238581-88 or e-mail pilgrimage@execres.com.ph.

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Think about this: “The strongest person is one who is dependent on God; the greatest person is one who is humble before God; and the tallest person is one who kneels before God.”

* * *

A moment with the Lord:

Lord, help me to be kind not only in my words and actions, but even in my thoughts and judgments. Amen.

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    Colossians 3:17

    King James Version (KJV)

    17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.

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