It is easy for us to think in terms of our justice system when we think about forgiving others; we think about guilt or innocence and punishment or making amends to society. That is not what Jesus is calling us to in today’s Gospel. He calls us to show mercy, the kind of mercy we’ve experienced from God. He tells us “Stop judging . . . Stop condemning.”
Why is it so hard for us to stop judging and condemning? Even our Church has a hard time with that. Maybe that is because we are convinced that error has no rights and must be stopped in its tracks. But who says what error is? Am I that sure that I have a lock on the truth? Jesus asks us to forgive with a full measure: “packed together, shaken down, and overflowing [that] will be poured into your lap.”
—Fr. Jim Riley, S.J. serves as assistant to the Jesuit superior at Colombiere Center, Clarkston, MI.