Today’s Gospel reading is one that many feel they know, but some don’t really grasp. Look at the words in the King James Version and not some popular paraphrase, and you see the promise that you will be given as you give. Don’t judge, and you won’t be judged. Don’t condemn, and you won’t be condemned. In other words, you’re off the hook so long as you don’t put someone else on the hook!
This is a great idea in so many ways. To begin with, how much do we know about the greater scheme of things, in the full breadth of God’s vision? Not much, as I see it. And we can stay out of trouble by not making judgments about anything we do not know the full facts about.
Today the Gospel offers us a scene we see too often, where the “better people” don’t seem to want to deal with “those people”, meaning the outcasts of society. And, Jesus seems to sense that the so-called outcasts might not always have been outcasts.
Jesus spoke to them using parables in ways that they would know from their own lives. And it’s a lesson many of us will do well to remember.
More basis for what we’ve been saying! John points out the importance of our loving each other, even if the world hates us. After all, whose opinion counts, people who don’t care except to mess with you, or God and those you share with?
John also points out that love is not found in empty words, but in the substance and reality of what we do for each other. And if we can manage that, who knows how much will come to be ours!