Johannine Hours



Luke 6:36-38

October 1997
Luke 6:36-38

How can we understand the words of Jesus: "Do not judge; do not condemn"? It has sometimes been thought that they refer to the excessive harshness of some judgements. But if that were the idea, why could Jesus not have said: "Judge with moderation; do not condemn harshly"? What did he mean, then? The words that follow can help us go in the right direction. Jesus adds, "You will not be judged; you will not be condemned." He does not only invite us not to judge others. His words also free us from the worry of being judged ourselves, of the judgement we might deserve. They take us out of the world of rights and judgements.

We can move away from "justice" in two different directions. On the one hand there is injustice. But on the other hand, there is that new form of existence which the Gospel calls the Kingdom of God. The welcome offered to the prodigal son and the salary that the workers of the eleventh hour receive (Luke 15,11-32; Matt 22,1-16) are not strictly speaking "just." But the measure of God's Kingdom, compassion, is of another order. It is "a good measure, pressed down, shaken together and overflowing" (v. 38).

When we try to fix a situation by criticisms and demands, in the best case we obtain what we consider fair and just. But what if God wanted to give us more, to open before us an unexpected horizon? The Kingdom of God is that surprise. One day, Jesus said to those who were working hard to make things better by means of judgements and condemnations, "You are not entering yourselves into God's Kingdom and you are not even allowing to enter those who wish to" (Matt 23,13). Not judging means keeping our eyes open to see the miracle of God and welcoming it in other people and in our own life.



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