1 Cor. 4:1-5, Ps. 37:3-6,27-28,39-40, Luke 5:33-39
“Therefore, do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then every man will receive his commendation from God.” (1 Corinthians 4:5)
A small girl was holding two apples in her hands and her mother asked for one. To her mother’s surprise, the little girl held one of the apples and bit it. She chewed it with delight, then waited for a while, took the second apple, and bit it also. The mother felt embarrassed by her behavior. Then after a while, she held one of the apples to her mum and with the purest innocence any child could muster said: “Mummy, take this one, it is sweeter than the other one.”
It is in our human nature to judge people whether good or bad. Most times, our judgment is based on what we can see or what we think we know about them, or based on who we are. St. Paul is teaching us today not to be too quick to pass judgment because only God has the capacity to “bring to light the things now hidden in darkness…” St. Paul’s words are part of his response to the division in the Corinthian Church between those who were for Apollos and those for him.
To those who were on the side of Paul, he says: “who are you to declare me a saint?” and to those who were against Paul, he says: “even though I am not aware of anything against myself (my conscience is clean), I am not thereby acquitted.” Paul’s overall intention here was to break division, to make the people refrain from taking sides and realize that both Paul and Apollos are imperfect, yet powerful, instruments in the hands of God.
I admire the fact that in his admonition to the Corinthians, Paul made no single negative statement about Apollos who had been made a rival to him by the people. This is very instructive. There are many men and women of God, pastors, preachers, and evangelists who, like Paul and Apollos have become sworn enemies today just because of what people were saying about them. Bear in mind that it is the devil’s delight to see church leaders quarrel and fight. Have the maturity to caution the person who brings gossip to you, he or she may be plotting the stage to see you fight with your brother.
In today’s Gospel passage, Jesus and his disciples became victims of pre-mature judgment. The Scribes and Pharisees were in the habit of displaying public piety to win the admiration of people meanwhile, their hearts were far from God. Jesus, disgusted with public piety wanted true inner piety; piety that required going into your room, and shutting the door to pray, (so that your Father who sees all that is done in secret will reward you in secret).
Jesus warned against carrying long faces while fasting so as not to let anyone know you are fasting. Without trying to find out if Jesus’ disciples were fasting secretly, they murmured against his disciples, saying, “Why do you eat and drink with tax collectors and sinners?” (Luke 5:30). There is danger in passing judgment before the time; (before all the facts are exposed). Remember the warning of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount: “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment, you pronounce you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get.” (Matthew 7:1-2)
Let us pray: Almighty ever-living God, give me the grace to grow deeper in the spirit. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Friday of week 22 in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: 1 Cor. 4:1-5, Ps. 37:3-6,27-28,39-40, Luke 5:33-39).
© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu