In his homily for daily Mass at the chapel of the Vatican’s St. Martha Residence yesterday, Pope Francis called upon the congregants to do something radical in advocating for others who have strayed from truth or done wrong in prayer before the Father, rather than passing judgment on them. “If we want to follow the way of Jesus, more than accusers, we have to be defenders of others before the Father,” the Holy Father explained, “I see a bad thing in someone – do I go defend him? No! But keep quiet! Go pray and defend him before the Father as Jesus does.” The Pope primarily reflected on the reading from yesterdays Gospel, Matthew 7:1-5, the passage in which Jesus warns not to be concerned with the splinter in the eye of your brother, while your own eye has a huge beam. The allegorical passage is seen as Jesus railing against judging others while someone is themselves dealing with sin in their life.
“The person who judges is wrong, is mistaken and is defeated because he assumes God’s place, He who is the one and only judge,” the Pope said, reminding that God often “takes his time” when rendering judgment and does not operate according to human ways or conceptions. The Pope made reference to Jesus’ use of the analogy of picking a splinter in a neighbor’s eye while failing to tend to the plank in our own. “He who does this is so obsessed with the person he wants to judge – that person – so, so obsessed! That the splinter will not let him sleep!”
Someone who judges others before first placing judgment upon themselves simply isn’t in touch with reality, Francis explained. “He’s fantasizing. And he who judges becomes defeated, ends badly, because the same measure will be used to judge him.” Using Christ as the prime example for every Christian, Pope Francis said that “Jesus, before the Father, never accuses, it is the opposite, he defends! He’s the first Paraclete. Then, he sends the second, who is the Holy Spirit. He is the defender: he comes before the Father to defend us against the charges.”
The Pope said that Satan is described in Sacred Scripture as “the accuser,” and that the very word means “adversary.” If you judge, you do not imitate Christ, but rather the Prince of this world, the Devil, he explained. He also said that the one who judges will be judged by God utilizing the same standard that they used when passing judgment upon others. “Let us remember this well, it will do us good in everyday life when we get the urge to judge others, to speak ill of others, which is a form of judging,” the Pontiff concluded.