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YEAR C: HOMILY FOR THE 8TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
HOMILY THEME: EXAMINE YOURSELF FIRST…
BY: Fr. C.C Aladi.
HOMILY: GOSPEL: LK 6:39-45
“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be
forgiven”. (cf Luke 6:37)
My dearest people of God welcome to the month of March and to the last Sunday before the Lenten season. Today’s readings remind us to avoid judging others and to look inwardly examining ourselves before we speak and to avoid gossiping, judging, condemning, or harming the reputation of others by our careless and unbridled utterances.
A responsible man or woman is he who thinks before he speaks, and who knows when to keep silence and when to talk. Good words flow from a generous and kind heart while evil and destructive words flow from the same source. A tree is known by its fruit and out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks, were all we heard in the readings of today.
Sirach’s teaching in the first reading serves as an excellent preview for today’s Gospel, which reminds us, when we’re feeling judgmental, to think before we speak because what comes out of our mouth reveals our heart.
In the second reading St. Paul advises the Corinthian Christians “to be firm, steadfast, always fully devoted to the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labour is not in vain,” instead of wasting time on useless and sinful conversations, which bring punishment instead of the victory of resurrection and eternal reward.
today’s Gospel passage, taken from the Sermon on the Plain given in Luke’s Gospel, Jesus condemns our careless, malicious and rash judgments about the behavior, feelings, motives or actions of others by using the funny examples of one blind man leading another blind man and one man with a log stuck in his eye, trying to remove a tiny speck from another’s eye.
Each one of us has had experiences of saying things we deeply regretted later, but by then, the harm has already been done. Even though we may revoke our words, but the initial damage or harm may not be reversed. In marriage and in our relationships, we often say abominable and hurtful things when there is a conflict or misunderstanding only to regret them later. We judge others a lot. We complain about what we suffer from others without thinking about what they suffer from us. Have you dear child of God had any regrets in the past for uttering words that deeply condemned or hurt others in a way that affected their attitude towards you and how they feel about themselves? When we judge others we make reconciliation with them a difficult task. ” If you judge people, you have no time to love them ” – Mother St. Theresa
We are often careless in saying things without understanding the impact it makes on others.“ A gentle answer turns away wrath, but hard words stir up anger.” ( cf.Proverbs 15: 1) “ Kind words are like honey–sweet to the soul and healthy for the body .” (cf proverbs 16:24)
We are all guilty of not being kind with words so today God wants a change of heart and a more positive attitude from us.
People may not judge our intentions but they judge us from the words we speak, and our words reveal what we have in mind. So, we have to be prudent in speech. We often get into trouble because we say unhealthy things about others behind their back. With the availability of many recording and videoing devices in this age of technology, people are becoming more careful about what they say.
Never say anything you cannot defend. Never say anything about another you cannot say in his or her presence. This is a matter of Christian charity and love we owe to others, not simply a way of avoiding getting into trouble. It is a sin to blackmail or sabotage the efforts of others. As Christians it is our obligation to protect the welfare of others, that is what being our brother’s keeper entails.
An empty vessel an adage says makes the most noise and an unexamined life is bound to make mistakes. There are times when we say things with good intentions but it becomes misinterpreted by others. It happens because we spoke out of context, or we made wrong references, or assumptions or we sounded judgemental or simply were insensitive to the situation on ground. Whatever be the reason, such could be avoided when we are reserved in speech, when we pause reaction to consider all the evidence on the ground and when we speak with a compassionate and empathic spirit.
Purity of intention matters a lot in our relationship with God and others. When we mistakenly hurt others by our words, our intention if it is pure, will evoke a feeling of remorse, which will lead to a sincere request for forgiveness. But most times our hearts are not pure, so we sound judgemental and condemnatory.
We should avoid judging others because:
~No one except God is good enough to judge others because only God sees the whole truth, and only He can read the human heart. Hence, only He has the ability, right and authority to judge us.
~We do not see all the facts or circumstances or the power of the temptation which has led a person to do something evil.
~ We are often prejudiced in our judgment of others, and total fairness cannot be expected from us, especially when we are judging those near or dear to us.
~ We have no right to judge because we have the same faults as the one we are judging and often in a greater degree (remember Jesus’ funny example of a man with a log in his eye trying to remove the dust particle from another’s eye?) Do not judge another because if you found yourself in the same situation as that person, you might even do the worst- be compassionate.
St. Philip Neri commented, watching the misbehaviour of a drunkard: “ There goes Philip but for the grace of God. ” Abraham Lincoln said that the only one who has the right to criticize is the one who has the heart to help.
~Hence, we should leave all judgment to God, practice mercy and forgiveness, and pray for God’s grace to get rid of all forms of hypocrisy in our lives. Let us remember the warning of saints: “ When you point one finger of accusation at another, three of your fingers point at you”
We need to withdraw to our inner selves to examine our lives properly as Christians and cultivate internal peacefulness, love, and understanding that will motivate our inner thoughts and words.
In this mass, we ask God to help us build human relationships with positive, encouraging, motivational, kind and loving words, and eschew all forms of negative and judgemental words.Let us ask God to transform us as we begin the Lenten season this coming Ash Wednesday and give us the grace to make the best out of the lenten season.
I keep you and your family always in my prayers.
Fr. C.C Aladi.