In his daily homily Pope Francis warned that those who judge others are far from God, stating that in order to be close we must defend others rather than hastily accuse them. “If we want to follow the way of Jesus, more than accusers, we have to be defenders of others before the Father,” the pope said in his June 23 daily Mass. “I see a bad thing in someone — do I go defend him? No! But keep quiet! Go pray and defend him before the Father as Jesus does," he said. Pope Francis centered his reflections on the day’s Gospel, taken from Matthew, in which Jesus warns his disciples against pointing to the splinter in another’s eye while ignoring the beam in their own. He affirmed to those present in the Vatican’s Saint Martha guesthouse that God is our “sole judge.” “The person who judges is wrong, is mistaken and is defeated because he assumes God’s place, He who is the one and only judge," he said. Jesus’ use of the word “hypocrite” in the scripture passage is directed toward all who pass a hasty judgment on others, the pope said, while instead God “takes his time” when passing judgment. Pope Francis reiterated that those who judge others make the mistake of wanting to remove the splinter from their brother’s eye without even noticing the wooden beam in their own. “He who does this is so obsessed with the person he wants to judge — that person — so, so obsessed! That the splinter will not let him sleep!” the pontiff said. The man who judges others before himself “confuses reality," Pope Francis said. "He’s fantasizing. And he who judges becomes defeated, ends badly, because the same measure will be used to judge him.” Pointing to Jesus as an example, the pope explained that only God and those who he chooses have the authority to judge others, observing how “Jesus, before the Father, never accuses!” “It’s the opposite: he defends!” he said. “He’s the first Paraclete. Then, he sends the second, who is the (Holy) Spirit. He is the defender: he comes before the Father to defend us against the charges.” The Roman Pontiff observed that it is Satan who is described as “the accuser” in Scripture, adding that he who judges “is an imitator of the prince of this world who’s always behind people to accuse them before the Father.” Encouraging those present to “imitate Jesus” as “intercessor, advocate, lawyer,” Pope Francis explained that we must not only do this for ourselves, but also for others. But “do not imitate others,” he cautioned, because following suit with others rather than God “in the end will destroy us.” The Holy Father concluded by reminding the audience that he who judges will be judged. “Pray for him, but do not judge! Because if you do, when you do something bad, you will be judged. Let us remember this well,” he said, because “it will do us good in everyday life when we get the urge to judge others, to speak ill of others, which is a form of judging.”
Catholic News Agency was founded in 2004, in response to Pope St. John Paul II’s call for a “New Evangelization." It is an apostolate of EWTN News.