“Bawal ang judgmental”

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The WORD in other words (2021) by Fr. Emil Lim, SVD (Saint Jude Catholic School, Manila)

Saturday 22nd Week in Ordinary Time

Image source: Wikimedia Commons / Cristo Redentor, statue on Corcovado mountain in Rio de Janeiro, by Paul Landowski

A noontime television show has a popular segment, called “Bawal ang judgmental” (You’re not allowed to be judgmental). For every mis-judgment committed, the contestant loses a thousand pesos. But things or people are not always what they seem. We use eyes to observe, but it takes a reflective heart to understand.

The Pharisees in the gospel seem to have their eyes always on Jesus and his group. As soon as they spot any digression from rules, no matter how small, they are quicker than lightning to attack and criticize. 

We in the church and parishes have a particular propensity for doing the same. What is the right way, the liturgically correct, the acceptable exceptions, the pastorally practicable? We disagree, argue, and reason our way through the letters of the law. If we are not careful, we may not only sound like the Pharisees but may actually think and act like them. The Pharisees are not bad people; they usually mean well and are very passionate about their beliefs. We can learn a good deal from them, except being pharisaical – a case of having good intentions but from a bad attitude.

Correcting a brother who errs is an act of charity. But if it comes from an attitude of self-righteousness that implies that everybody else is wrong except oneself, Jesus has something to say to such people: “You hypocrites, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.” (Mt. 7:5)

Bawal ang judgemental! Jesus said it in many different ways and for a good reason. There is only one judge. “The Son of Man is Lord of the Sabbath.” 

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