Modern philosophy attempts to make moral judgments without any of the biases that are part of ordinary human life. We might think that this is a good idea. After all, bias or prejudice is something that we ordinarily think is bad.
However, the problem is that modern philosophy would look upon religion as a form of bias or prejudice. This school of thought tries to make decisions without the influence of the commandments that are part of our religious belief. If we call ourselves Christians, we must allow our faith to inform our moral decision making.
In addition to the commandments, we must also allow the Gospel to influence our behavior. Jesus teaches us that we cannot judge others. Consequently, our moral decision making must inform our own behavior without condemning others. Jesus says further that, because we are all guilty of sin, the only way to find forgiveness is by being merciful towards others.
Judging others is almost second nature to all of us. Perhaps this is because it is easier to find fault others than it is to remember that we are all guilty. Rooting out the faults and failings in our own lives is so difficult. It is far easier to deflect any attention from our own faults and failings by highlighting the faults and failings of others. The image that Jesus uses or a splinter and a beam pushes us to come to the realization that there is so much more that we need to do on a personal level if we wish to be considered true disciples of the Lord.
Jesus reminds us today that mercy can be ours if only we extend it to others.
Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator