March 24, 2012 - Saturday of the Fourth Week of Lent

Today's Readings

The Pharisees have put together an argument that seems unassailable. No prophet is supposed to come from Galilee, certainly not the Christ. Even the crowd knows that the Christ comes from Bethlehem. Everybody knows that. Therefore, Jesus is not the Christ. They tell Nicodemus, when he suggests that they should listen to the words of Jesus before making a judgment, “Look and see that no prophet arises from Galilee.” Perhaps someone had gone to great lengths to prove this fact, perhaps writing a detailed paper on the topic. In the end, none of this matters, since Jesus was born in Bethlehem and only moved to Galilee later in life. This is a good example of how we can be wrong while feeling like we are right. The Pharisees concentrated so hard on the fact that no prophet would arise from Galilee that they forget to make sure that Jesus was from Galilee. Complex arguments, solidly built, can be defeated by one little fact.

Thank God we are not called to judge others. When we see someone doing something, there is no need for us to judge them. Unless we know the exact details of their life, we are forced to presume so many things in order to make a judgment. This is equally true with regard to our neighbors and to public figures. How many times I have heard someone speak about the President or members of Congress as if only the most evil intentions could explain their actions, as if anyone we disagree with must also be a terrible person.

The difficulty in judging rightly should give us pause when we have to make judgments about students or children or employees. We should realize how limited our judgments are; even if we have to judge actions or results, we never can judge people. People are simply too complex; there are too many unknown factors. Only God, who knows each of us better than we know ourselves, can judge a person. He is the searcher of heart and soul, so only he can be a just judge.

Sometimes we need to make judgments, but we must always remember that these judgments are conditional and quite possibly wrong. The greatest of the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit is wisdom. By this gift, the judgment of God is revealed to us. We should earnestly pray for wisdom, that God will inform us of what we need to know in order to do his will more effectively.