“Let us never assume that if we live good lives we will be without sin; our lives should be praised only when we continue to beg for pardon. But men are hopeless creatures, and the less they concentrate on their own sins, the more interested they become in the sins of others. They seek to criticize, not to correct. Unable to excuse themselves, they are ready to accuse others.” ~ St. Augustine
I am always drawn to this quote by St. Augustine, because it points to the fact without seeking God’s mercy and growing in humility, we end up falling into pride and judgment of others. Have you ever noticed when you push down on in an object, you in return push yourself up? I don’t know if we subconsciously know this or just out of our brokenness and sinfulness, but we love to pass judgment on others. When we judge others or when we gossip about others faults, we lift ourselves up in our pride and we glorify in the fact that at least we are not like them.
Clearly this is sinful and we need to reject this inclination because this is contrary to the life and mission of Jesus Christ. Jesus, who is the Son of God, had every right, as God, to push down through judgement, but he doesn’t. From the power of his infancy narrative where Jesus comes not in majesty and power, but in simplicity and poverty. Jesus enters into the midst of our lives not to push us down, but by his life, death, and resurrection, lift us up in his mercy and love!
That is what our readings are encouraging us to do; to continue to grow in humility. By doing so, we not only find favor with God, as our first reading says, we act more and more like Christ. When we humble ourselves, we allow God to exalt us. May we be strengthened by our readings and the Eucharist to always seek to grow in humility, seek God’s endless mercy, and lift those around us up.