Who am I to judge?

An obvious answer to the question is, “nobody,” since God the Father has committed all judgment to his Son, Jesus Christ (John 5:22). So we should not be surprised that St. Paul to exhort the Romans “to stop judging one another” (Romans. 14:13). The context comes just a few verses before: “Why then do you judge your brother? Or you, why do you look down on your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of God.” (14:10) The context is that final judgment is reserved to God. We are not meant to judge another person by closing the loop of justice on his or her life with a final verdict before God when the final verdict belongs to Christ, and Him alone. There is always hope for any man or woman this side of the grave to repent and return to the way of salvation. Jesus testified to this upon the cross when He forgave the repentant thief (Luke 23:43). Continue reading

Judging or Mercy

Today’s gospel is from Luke’s version of the Sermon on the Mount, Luke 6:36-38. Typically the exegetical break is to include Luke 6:27-36 together with Luke 6:37 beginning a new thought. Not that they are not connected, but nonetheless a new train of thought.

27 “But to you who hear I say, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you.29 To the person who strikes you on one cheek, offer the other one as well, and from the person who takes your cloak, do not withhold even your tunic.30 Give to everyone who asks of you, and from the one who takes what is yours do not demand it back.31 Do to others as you would have them do to you. Continue reading

Let it start now

This coming Sunday marks our journey in Ordinary Time, the 20th Sunday in Year C. You can read a complete commentary on the Sunday Gospel here.

49 “I have come to set the earth on fire, and how I wish it were already blazing! 50 There is a baptism with which I must be baptized, and how great is my anguish until it is accomplished! 51 Do you think that I have come to establish peace on the earth? No, I tell you, but rather division. 52 From now on a household of five will be divided, three against two and two against three; 53 a father will be divided against his son and a son against his father, a mother against her daughter and a daughter against her mother, a mother-in-law against her daughter-in-law and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.” (Luke 12:49-53) Continue reading

He Comes – a final thought

judgmentA Final Thought: Not Keeping Score. Richard Jensen (Preaching Matthew’s Gospel, 220-22) has comments from his book about this parable which I thought I would share:

The righteous are surprised. They don’t know their deeds. They haven’t kept score. Their left hand doesn’t seem to know what their right hand is doing (Matthew 6:3)….

The righteous were righteous because of their deeds and they didn’t know it. They didn’t know their own righteousness…. The righteousness of the sheep was precisely an alien righteousness. They didn’t even know they possessed it!… Continue reading

He Comes – the eternal

judgmentWhat We Fail To Do. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 a stranger and you gave me no welcome, naked and you gave me no clothing, ill and in prison, and you did not care for me.’ 44 Then they will answer and say, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or ill or in prison, and not minister to your needs?’ 45 He will answer them, ‘Amen, I say to you, what you did not do for one of these least ones, you did not do for me.’ The exchange between the king and the accursed mirrors the exchange with the righteous, though suitably abbreviated to avoid tedious repetition – even absenting “brothers and sisters” with reference to the “least ones” in v. 45. The list is the same, the perplexed “when did we see you” response, and the King’s reply. One contrast might lie in something small. In v.44, summarizing the actions of the accursed, they ask when they did “not minister to your needs?” Continue reading

He Comes – the accursed

judgmentSolidarity. 40 And the king will say to them in reply, ‘Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’ The words “Amen, I say to you,” here and in v. 45 emphasize the principle of solidarity. Whether they knew it or not, the people they helped were associated with Jesus, to such an extent that they could be said to be Jesus. The more general principle of Proverb 19:17 that “Whoever cares for the poor lends to the Lord” is thus here more specifically applied to Jesus and his people. Continue reading

He comes – the blessed

judgmentThe Blessed. 34 Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. As noted above, the “Son of Man” is now depicted as “king.” It the king himself who points out “my Father.” The Christological implications are clear – and even though it comes from the Gospel of John, one is hard pressed not to be reminded (John 5:27) where Jesus tells his disciples that all authority has been given to the Son to implement judgment. Continue reading

He Comes – commentary

judgmentFulfillment. 31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, 32 and all the nations will be assembled before him.” Matthew, writing to a largely Jewish Christian audience, has, from the beginning, relied heavily on OT imagery and scenes. This opening verse does no less. The most evident echo is from Daniel 7:13-14 and the wider setting found there. “The Son of Man,” “comes,” “glory” all directly echo those verses, as does the idea of enthronement. Matthew also echoes Daniel 7:9-10 from which we have the specific mention of “throne,” the gathering of angels, and the idea of judgment. There is one important difference. In Daniel’s scene it is God himself seated on the throne of judgment. In Matthew it is now the Son of Man, fulfilling what was depicted in Dan 7:14. Continue reading

He Comes – background

judgmentBackground and Context- This passage from Matthew is particularly dense with OT references, uses language that has already appeared in earlier Matthean verses (thus already having an contextual meaning), and because of its eschatological setting, invites comparison with other sacred writers, especially, St. Paul. Hence a bit more “context” is needed, or better said, background. Continue reading

He Comes – context

judgmentMatthew 25:31-46 – 31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit upon his glorious throne, 32 and all the nations will be assembled before him. And he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will place the sheep on his right and the goats on his left. 34 Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ Continue reading