But the law says!
What happens when we let judgment lead our encounters? From my own life I am becoming more and more aware of the ways the gavel of judgment shuts the door before another’s personal story is able to evolve.
Pondering the cross while praying with these scriptures, I see again how Christ came to open and broaden the narrative. Where we have a tendency to place a period, Christ’s ministry added commas, question marks and exclamations. While man’s judgment seemingly brought forth His horrific ending, Christ’s death and resurrection adds chapter upon chapter of merciful possibility, when we are able to see each other, in a mystical way, as one.
As I listened to the homilies, addresses and comments of Pope Francis as he made his way from DC to NY and Philadelphia it was amazing to watch people open to the tone of mercy and love reflected in his gestures and the many ways he welcomed, encouraged and challenged, yet affirmed.
Nothing changed in a way. There are still questions. And yet, everything changed in those brief moments of witness.
Hearts opened as differences and challenges were acknowledged, and yet, in each shining moment we began to see that there may be more to the encounter of Christ, with each individual story, than meets the eye.
In Matthew’s gospel Christ asks, “Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother’s eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye?”
Lord, as the temptation to judge arises, help me to have the courage to return my gaze to “my thoughts, my words, what I have done and what I have failed to do.” And from that place of humble honest recognition help me to again open my heart to the God given dignity of each person I encounter with an ever widening bridge of respect and love for all.
M. Walsh is a friend of the Mater Dolorosa Retreat Center and the Passionist Community.