RYM Daily Lenten Moment
Day 39 : 'Condemn or Love'
Well yesterday was quite eventful wasn't it?
From the arrest of one of the world's most wanted men in Belgium terror raids to the resignation of one of the major players in the UK Government Cabinet - it certainly wasn't a slow news day!
Media and indeed social media were awash with comments, judgements, condemnation and the usual negative rumours about the people associated with making the news!
It can become all too easy however to join in with the condemnatory bandwagon at times - and adopt a 'holier than thou' attitude.
No matter what crimes have been committed by people - and yes some are particularly grave and horrific - we tend to overlook the fact that they are still a 'child of God' and also someone's son or brother, daughter or sister!
We need to pray for these people too - even if it seems hard or going against public opinion!
We heard in last week's Gospel the story of the woman who had committed adultery.
People including the scribes and Pharisees were lining up to condemn this woman - it was the easy thing to do - to join in with the baying crowds - to follow general opinion. They wanted her stoned!
But how did Jesus react?
He challenged them 'If there is one of you who has not sinned, let him be the first to throw a stone at her.'
Jesus didn't condemn the woman but challenged her to 'go away and sin no more'.
It's all too easy for us to get caught up in a adopting a morally superior high ground - when in fact we are all sinners!
Jesus is asking us to 'stand out from the crowd' - to love not condemn - no matter how hard that may be - no matter what others think!
So let us pray for victims but also for perpetrators of violence or terrorism. Only through prayer can peace prevail and sinners return to the Father!
In Matthew 5:44 we are told 'Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you'.
On this the Feast of St Joseph - let us be inspired by the example of his incredible faith, mercy and love!
Let our faith too be strong and enable us to pray for and love those who hate us and persecute us!
St Joseph, pray for us!
Paul Murphy - Coordinator of Redemptorist Youth Ministry (RYM)