Monday, February 25, 2013

Monday of the Second Week
Humans’ sin and judgment. God's forgiveness and compassion. The theme of the Bible might be summarized as humans’ sinfulness (rebellion, treachery, evil, disobedience) and God's love (compassion, forgiveness, mercy, faithfulness). "Lord, do not deal with us according to our sins," writes the psalmist. The Book of Daniel acknowledges the constant problem of humans separating themselves from God, "We rebelled against You and paid no heed to Your command, O Lord."  Jesus comes to show us the nature of God and the right relationship with Him that God offers. That loving relationship with God and our neighbor starts with recognizing the beliefs, behavior, and judgments that separate us from God and our neighbor. Jesus tells us "Stop judging...stop condemning...forgive...give...For the measure with which you measure will in return be measured out to you." (Luke 6:37-38)

Like my image of God, my understanding of sin was formed as a child. Sin is anything that separates me from God. As an adult, I think of sin as anything that separates me from my neighbor, my brothers and sisters, as well because God our Creator made and loves each of us. Jesus spent His ministry years among us demonstrating who is our neighbor and how we are to treat them. Our human values and judgments are often opposite of those of our heavenly Father. Jesus embraced people who were social outcasts; healed people who were sick or had mental illness or a physical disability; talked with women and children and people considered to have no value; interacted with people who were Gentile, Samaritans, Romans, Pharisees, believers and non-believers - all loved, none judged.

Neuroscientists suggest that our ability to make immediate judgments about people is a built-in mechanism for survival. No thinking is involved with our physiological responses of adrenalin and fight-or-flight action when we judge an unknown person or situation. My choice to judge and condemn or to forgive and give is rational and results in behavior that is sinful or loving. If I categorize people according to my judgments, I have separated myself from them. God challenges us not to measure others with condemnation, but to see them through God’s mercy and love.
Holy Spirit, please open my eyes to see as Jesus sees, to hear as Jesus hears, and to love as Jesus loves. In His mercy, I pray.

Jan Hancock, M‘12, P‘99, P‘09, Member of the Worshipping Community

First Reading: Daniel 9:4b-10
Psalm 79:8-9, 11, 13
Gospel: Luke 6:36-38

Daily Scripture readings can be found online at the USCCB website

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