"Who am I to judge?"
Feb 12, 2018
In one of Pope Francis’ first interviews one reporter asked him about a gay priest. His very famous answer was to say: “Who am I to judge?” It was very personal and an unexpected answer which caused great discomfort for many within the Church who use moral judgements to control the behavior of others. This has been a rather handy tool for many within the Church community since before Jesus’ time. Remember the story of the man born blind in John’s gospel: the disciples on seeing him ask Jesus whose sin caused the man to be born blind; his or his parents. Jesus gives a very unexpected answer: he was born blind so that he may give glory to God; which happens when Jesus heals him.
Jesus does not begin the encounter with any human being in judgement but meets them in love. As a community that calls itself the body of Christ we need to confront the way we use moral judgements against each other. We do it in the simplest ways: someone comes late to Mass or leaves early and we judge them for not doing what they are “supposed to do”. Sometimes we can be more complex and judge the way they work with their children or the way they interact with others. I think most times we have gotten so used to this way of thinking we do not really think we are judging another member of the body of Christ. We are in fact judging Christ himself and measuring him short.
Remember when Saul (Paul) is on his way to Damascus to persecute the new Christian community he is felled by a great light and he hears a voice saying “Saul, Saul why are you persecuting me? Saul asks: “Who are you?” And the response is: “I am Jesus the one you are trying to kill”. If you are still thinking about what you might be doing for the season of Lent might I suggest to you that you become more aware of your own attitudes toward the other members of the body of Christ in which you are a part. Maybe you can practice the surprising answer of Pope Francis and say “Who am I to judge?” as others bother you by being themselves. Why do they do what they do: So that God might be glorified through you.