We Ourselves Are the Penitents



Tenth Day of Lent

[Jesus then continued with His teaching …] “Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in another person’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to another person, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of another person’s eye.”.                     – Matthew 7:1-5

In “Justice Christianus” we are not to sit where the judge does sit, but rather to kneel where the penitent does kneel.  We are not the executioners, we are the counselors.

We are called to confession.  We are called to seek clear vision, to see through unprejudiced eyes, to see through eyes not clouded with smoke of vengeance and vindictiveness, to see through eyes half-blinded by our own sins.  Fair justice is dependent upon clear vision as to what true and what is false.  Fair justice is not determined by fear or selfish motive, but by an honest and unfiltered beholding of the reality before us.

Yet the so-called justice of this world is too often carried out through blurred and distorted vision.  Prejudice (pre-judging),  political loyalties, tribal mentality, limited experience, insufficient knowledge, fostered fears, festering resentments are among those blinding specks that turn justice into injustice.  But in the “Justice Christianus” the eyes of justice must be cleansed and pure.

The judges in the Sanhedrin were blinded by fear, pride, self-righteousness, defensiveness and political intrigue.  The judgment by King Herod was blinded by self-interest, haunting guilt, indifference, and political interests.  The judgment by Pontius Pilate was blinded by political ambition, frustration with the crowds, a willingness to be swayed to pacify the mob.  The judgment by the passers-by who mocked Christ as He suffered on the cross, they were blinded by the cynicism of the times and their ignorance.

Lent is a time to remember that confession is both good for the soul and for the well-being of the community.  Lent is a time for the washing of eyes of the dust of this world.  Lent is a time to remember that we are called to be humble and holy and not judgmental and self-righteous.

Always in Christ’s Service,

Fr. Charitas de la Cruz

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