First Reading: Gn 23:1. 4. 19; 24:1-8. 62-67; Psalm: 106. R. v. 1b; Gospel: Mt 9:9-13
A LESSON FROM JESUS
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
People criticise for various reasons. There are those who criticise because they feel they can do better. And there are those who criticise just to take people’s attention away from those they criticise. The former is caused by pride and the latter by envy. But there are also people who criticise because they want to bring out the best from those they criticise. When we criticise a people or an action, it is taking for granted that we are not guilty of what we criticise. For it would be absurd to criticise what we are also guilty of.
It is the duty of a doctor to diagnose an illness and administer treatment if he could. Jesus was a great physician who saw that the tax collectors and sinners needed spiritual healing. And he was very generous with his time to make this happen. He became their friends and wined and dined with them. It is always wise to accept people first before correcting them than standing at a distance and condemning them without giving them a listening ear or getting to know them better. Jesus condemned the attitude of the Pharisees who claimed to be righteous and had no need of him but criticised his decision of going to those in need of healing.
No human being is completely bad. If we cannot say one constructive thing about a people; we should never say destructive things about them. If we cannot build; we should not destroy. We all have faults even when we believe that some have more faults than others. But at least recognising our own faults should humble us and tame our impulses for criticisms. What Jesus frowns at is our refusal to see our own shortcomings while we are busying counting the shortcomings of others. Sometimes, even those we condemn are better than us in so many other ways. It’s just that our criticism has blinded us not to look beyond what we condemn in them to see the other good qualities they possess.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, help us to see our shortcomings so as to love and not judge one another. Amen.