Today’s readings struck me as a reminder of what I have a constant struggle with. Before I let you in on what that is, here are a few thoughts on the stories presented…
In Romans 14:7-12, we are told that Christ died and came to life so that we are his in totality if we so choose, that only God can stand in judgement, and we are asked “Why then do you judge your brother or sister…why look down on your brother or sister?”
In the Gospel, Luke 15:1-10, two parables are shared. That of the lost sheep whose master sees as so valuable that he leaves the other 99 behind to save it and that of the woman who lost one of her ten coins and searched until it was found, sharing her joy with all her friends and neighbors. I like to think that the one she lost was but a penny, but a shiny, bright new one! Such a treasure! Would we look so hard for a penny?
And it was the responsorial psalm that really brought them together to direct me to how to overcome my struggle, ‘I believe that I shall see the good things of the Lord in the land of the living.’
So what’s my struggle? Automatic judgmental thoughts. I used to say to myself, “Well, I don’t say them or take any action on them.” But, as my journey with God into a deeper relationship continues, I realized that I really just want them to stop!
Once again I am drawn to an inspirational moment many years ago when I heard Cardinal Keeler, then Archbishop of Baltimore, use this phrase in a radio announcement for the annual Lenten giving campaign, “See Christ in others.” This one phrase has followed me into many situations and I am eternally grateful for its guidance in my growing relationship with Christ.
So how to stop those automatic judgmental thoughts? SEE CHRIST IN OTHERS. Instead of looking at people we don’t know and placing them in a category outside of ourself, we see each person as a long lost relative who we just don’t know yet! When we see others as our sister or brother in Christ and realize that we are from the same family, those automatic, judgmental thoughts are more easily doused in compassion and love. And that comes from the Christ who lives within our hearts ‘in the land of the living.’
May you have the grace and honor to ‘See Christ in others’ today!