Judgement is neither good nor bad. It is information. Rather, what we choose to do with that information becomes a choice for doing good or bad. The same information regarding my neighbor’s reprehensible speech and unjust actions still depend on my choice in response, whether to strike back in anger or extend compassion, whether to retaliate in self-righteous rage or to welcome the opportunity to dialogue, whether to close my eyes and ears to their suffering or to seek forgiveness and find a path to reconciliation. The choice is still mine. And in my choice lies good or evil to which I will be held accountable before God.
When sharing with others what is holy and of value to me, I need to make a quick assessment of my audience and whether or not my offering will be regarded with respect. I cannot indiscriminately give out the treasures of my faith, for instance, not knowing whether they will be treasured or dismissed. I bought a bobblehead of Pope Francis a few years ago. Someone suggested we sell bobbleheads of me as a parish fundraiser. I was quick to reject the idea. I can only imagine to what indignities these images of me might be subjected. Now subjecting a bobblehead of me to any indignity is neither a federal crime nor an abuse of human rights. But I would rather we don’t even allow for the possibility. Now if the price of such an image is steep, there is less likelihood it will suffer any indignity. Just saying.
The Golden Rule is a reminder that our words and actions remain our responsibility regardless of whether or not we regard as worthy the intended recipient. We don’t typically want to be mistreated or disrespected, so we shouldn’t mistreat or disrespect anyone else. Plain and simple.
Now the path of discipleship will have its share of hardship and inconvenience. We need not fabricate more hardship and inconvenience believing erroneously that it makes us better disciples. But the cross is essential to our discipleship. If following in Jesus’ footsteps is easy, it must be to strengthen us for future trials. If it is hard, we need to remember who we follow. We cannot have an easier path than the Lord we follow.
In the end, our words and actions remain our responsibility. Choose wisely, grasshopper.
This mass was offered for the repose of +Bart Conlon Jr.
Rolo B Castillo © 2020