April 20, 2016
And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them,
I do not condemn him,
for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world. (John 12:47)
In a particularly sour mood tonight, these words from today's Gospel tripped me up. How often do we condemn others, putting the burden of our unhappiness on them?
How often do we condemn others for their beliefs? Not too often?
How often do we condemn others for their poor work ethic? Maybe a little more?
How often do we condemn others for simply not acting the way we think they ought? Very frequently? I am so incredibly guilty of this: writing others off, assigning them to a not-so-nice category in my mind, for the smallest deviation from the way I would do things.
Now are the things I mentioned above public condemnations? Are they the serious kind of eternal judgment referred to in the verse from John? Of course not. But the verse brought a more important question to my mind: Do I come to the world with salvation in my heart and on my lips? Are we out to cast stones or to bring new life? Do I allow others the dignity to come to Jesus Christ on their own terms, without imposing my own ideas about what life they should lead? This is a work of mercy that I'm not sure I've ever practiced well.
In this Year of Mercy, Pope Francis gives us the beautiful Amoris Laetitia, the Joy of Love. Take a moment to read some takeaways from the exhortation here. This is a Pope who knows the words of Christ from today's Gospel; this is a document that encourages all Christians to mature from an attitude of condemnation to a heart for the salvation of all mankind.
Let Christ's words today soak into our souls, making us an Easter people, a joyful people, a people of the light.
Praised be Jesus Christ, who came into the world to save!