I am sad to announce that, in consultation with the chairperson of the Community Life Committee, Sarah Willmering, and upon the recommendation of the Parish Leadership Team, I am cancelling the Grass Mass for this year. It is a wonderful event that “jump starts” the community after the summer months, but circumstances will make it difficult to have a meal, a choir, social distancing, etc. We look forward to having it again in 2021.
I thank my community members, Frs. Jeff Wocken and Peter Schuessler, for celebrating Masses for me while I recover from prostate surgery. I plan to be back for Masses July 25th/26th.
Have you ever been misjudged? Do you remember how you felt when you realized it? Did you ever wonder why people were treating you in a less than pleasant manner and then find out it was because of a misunderstanding? Do you remember how you felt then?
Those things have happened to me a number of times, but one that stands out is this: the entire time I ministered in a diocese, I experienced the priests of the diocese being aloof and cold toward me. I could never figure it out: with my warm and sparkling personality, how could they not like me (I would put a smiley face here if I knew how)! Over 30 years after I left the diocese, I found out why: in the first month that I was there, I attended a meeting of all priests in the diocese. At the proper times in the Mass, I did not kneel. They made the judgment that I had no respect for the Eucharist, that I was a “liberal” priest from “out East.” The reality is that I was crushed between two cars and I cannot kneel. But I was judged with no one bothering to ask or find out the facts.
I share this because it happens to us all the time and we are on both ends of the equation: the judged and the one who judges.
I thought of this incident, and judging, when I was reflecting on our Gospel about the person who sows good seeds and an enemy introduces bad seeds. By the time the plants mature enough to tell the good from the bad, their roots are so intertwined that one cannot be pulled up without damaging the other. One has to wait until the harvest, and then separate the good from the bad. The connection in my mind is that we all have good and bad within us and they are intertwined. How do we know what is happening inside a person? How do we know what is truly “good” and what is “bad”?
The point to us is this: be careful in judging. We do not know all the facts. We do not know what is in people’s minds. Often we are woefully wrong and much unhappiness and grief in the world comes from judging, gossiping, and ruining other people’s names. We are told to let the judging to God. “Judge not, that you may not be judged.”
I invite us this week to reflect on our propensity to judge. Do we easily judge? Do we join the “parking lot” judgments against others? How much are we spreading good things and peace? How much unhappiness are we spreading? What is one practical step I can take to stop judging? And let us support each other in prayer.