2 Kings 17:5-8, 13-15, 18
Then the king of Assyria invaded all the land and came to Samaria; for three years he besieged it. In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria captured Samaria; he carried the Israelites away to Assyria. He placed them in Halah, on the Habor, the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.
This occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They had worshiped other gods and walked in the customs of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel, and in the customs that the kings of Israel had introduced.
Yet the Lord warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep my commandments and my statutes, in accordance with all the law that I commanded your ancestors and that I sent to you by my servants the prophets.” They would not listen but were stubborn, as their ancestors had been, who did not believe in the Lord their God. They despised his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their ancestors, and the warnings that he gave them.
They went after false idols and became false; they followed the nations that were around them, concerning whom the Lord had commanded them that they should not do as they did.
The Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them out of his sight; none was left but the tribe of Judah alone.
Psalm 60:1-3, 10-11
O God, you have rejected us, broken our defenses;
you have been angry; now restore us!
You have caused the land to quake;
you have torn it open;
repair the cracks in it, for it is tottering.
You have made your people suffer hard things;
you have given us wine to drink that made us reel.
Have you not rejected us, O God?
You do not go out, O God, with our armies.
O grant us help against the foe,
for human help is worthless.
“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.
In the reading in Kings, we see that God tried to speak to his people by sending prophets with messages to keep his commandments. But they were stubborn and God became angry. It is only natural that a God of love would seek to correct his people and try to get them to return to him. God knows what he has said, what has been heard, and what choices have been made. When there is no other option, God will have to get the people’s attention by consequences. He removes his protection from them and allows them to grapple with only human help.
Then, as we read in the psalm, the writer admits that God has rejected them but dares to ask for help. It praises God to trust in his mercy, and God, after punishing evildoing, wants to restore and can restore.
In the Gospel, we are being warned not to judge others for their sins. We do not know the mind of God. Unlike God, we are not perfect. We do not know what people have heard and are responsible for, or what free choices they have made. The speck in the eye can be a blind spot, something a person does not realize he is doing. We do not know if a person has a repentant heart. Yet we are putting ourselves in the place of God when we act as though we can judge.
When we judge others, it is natural for those others to take a hard look at us and examine us just as closely to see our flaws and sins. We are reduced to accusations, name-calling, anger, and violence. Rather than leaving judgment in God’s hands and praying for our enemies, when we judge, we are waging war on them. The only effective judgment we can make is on our own selves when we know we are guilty of sin. If we bring our sin in repentance to God, we can then ask for mercy and for God to come to our aid.
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I ask for the grace to see my own sin and to always have hope that if I repent and come to you, I can be restored and strengthened. Forgive me for the judgments I have made on others and help me to remember to pray for anyone who does evil to come to repentance in You. Amen